Nigel Edwards

    • Before my time here, I spent the majority of my energy focused on what it meant to be successful. Shortly after I graduated high school, it was only a matter of time before this way of thinking led me to a career within the Canadian Forces. The military taught me some of the greatest lessons in life, of which I do not regret. Show up on time, do your work, and eventually you’ll move up in the chain of command. All of these values emulated the model of life that I wanted to live in: reliable, consistent, safe. But somehow that wasn’t quite cutting it for me. It was after about a year doing pushups in the rain, writing my name in the air with my feet, and being chewed out because the flag was raised on time that I realized I needed to go to the extremes of what I didn’t want to do before I found out what I did. To be honest, I didn’t know you could pursue a career in the arts. It wasn’t until I embarked on the lifelong journey of artistry that I began to realize that I needed more.

      When thinking about arts education, it’s almost too easy to simply write if off as another open ended degree with no immediate future. What’s really interesting to hear about is the false pretense that a degree in Fine and Applied Arts is limited in application outside it’s native environment. I vividly remember people almost trying talk me out of it. “Why waste your time, money, or energy on something that won’t even secure you a job?”

      “Are you afraid of not being successful?” This was the question that I was asked last summer by someone inquiring about my film career. To which I responded, “I fear success, but welcome failure”. Much like an arts education, it’s through failure that we’re able to discover new learning outcomes which in turn make us critically think. Over the course of the past four years whilst obtaining my degree, I've been privileged enough to garner fruitful relationships with faculty who now act as my mentors for both my personal and professional careers. The ability to navigate through the education system is not an entirely difficult one, rather how you apply the tools given to you is the real learning curve. At times it may even feel like you’re nearing the edge of a cliff, staring down to the bottom of a ravine. It’s dark, ominous, and grey. It’s from here that you’re faced with a decision: to stop and idle about grandeurs of success, or to trudge on and never look back.

      Congratulations Class of 2014, it’s time to never look back.