Using the world as his classroom: a young man’s journey to McMaster
At 20, MCpl. L* found himself dissatisfied with the academic path he had chosen. After dropping out of a Police Foundations program, MCpl. L joined the army reserves and began enrolling in mini courses, participating in tasking, and accepting contracts.
After three years, MCpl. L learned about the close protection program - similar to body guarding - of protecting a VIP in a high threat environment. He applied and was selected to spend 8 months in Edmonton before deployment to Afghanistan where he stayed for 7 months. MCpl. L spent his first few months protecting generals at ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) headquarters and his last two months in Kabul at the Canadian Embassy protecting ambassador William Crosbie.
During his time in Afghanistan, MCpl. L’s curiosity about university and job opportunities outside of the military grew. MCpl. L emailed professors to find out more about specific fields of study that interested him. He had experienced the world, but he hoped to grow academically and expand his critical mind to reflect on the world.
Despite his initial concerns of being a mature student, MCpl. L believes he has a different appreciation for the Social Sciences than he would have had he come straight from high school. “I’ve gained a lot of life experience”. MCpl. L has been all over the world and acquired new life tools that he believes will help him on his journey.
Now that he’s at McMaster, MCpl. L is connecting his academic studies with what he learned overseas. When working with ambassadors, MCpl. L would hear what he then considered “diplomat talk”, but now he’s beginning to understand some of the bigger concepts VIPs were discussing.
MCpl. L is inspired to pursue a Combined Honours in Political Science (International Relations) and Social Cultural Anthropology after having experienced a new culture.
*The individual will be referred to by his Canadian Forces rank of Master Corporal to protect his privacy.
Photo by: isafmedia
- Article by Natalie Paddon, Faculty of Social Sciences / First Generation Student Media Relations Officer