December 17, 2001
The following story was written by Irwin Laybolt, from Morell, PEI. Irwin is a new student of the Morell Learning Center Adult Education program with the PEI Institute of Adult & Community Education, Inc. He has a goal of attending the Child and Youth Care Worker program of Holland College. Irwin is the 2001-02 student representative on Morell's Adult Learning Advisory Committee.
My name is Irwin Laybolt. I am married to a terrific girl named Lisa and we have a precious son named Noah. It has been eleven years since the last time I was in the halls of Morell High. I graduated back in 1990, with a General Diploma and I was on the top of the world.
Now when I look back, it was for all the wrong reasons. All I thought was, "I am all done of school now and I have a job which pays pretty good waiting for me." The value and importance of money sure changes a lot from being a single twenty year old to a thirty-two year old married man with a family. There are bills to be paid and you have to watch your money closely.
I really enjoyed working at the plant. I moved up the ladder over the years, starting at pulling antennas off the lobsters to becoming in charge of the production numbers. All those late hours were starting to pay off for me in a good way. Boy, was I wrong! While I was working all those hours, my wife was going through the early months of pregnancy by herself. I was barely ever home to see her. It sounds pretty selfish of me to do this, but I had no choice. I really wanted to be home with her, but I couldn't. That was my job; I didn't like it but that's the way it had to be. The bills had to be paid and I was in no position to argue. I really wanted to be home at suppertime but I knew it wasn't possible so I had to stop thinking about it because it was driving me crazy.
Luckily when Lisa gave birth to Noah, it was in the winter so everything was great. I was home taking care of both of them, with a pretty good unemployment cheque coming in. We had enough money to get through the winter. We were happy. All of the sudden, April rolled around, time to go back to work. That was really hard on me, not to mention hard on Lisa and Noah. One phone call made me almost an outsider because I wouldn't be home when Noah wakes up or when he goes to bed. It is very disheartening when you come home from work and there is nobody up and when you go to work, its the same thing. It really bothered me but what could I do?
I decided to go back to school because I wanted to better myself and get a "normal job" so I could be home at a reasonable hour with my family. The thing that made my decision final was when Noah was diagnosed with a life threatening peanut allergy. It really is scary. I want to be close to a phone in case Noah has a reaction. I don't want them to be looking for me and not be able to get a hold of me. That happens a lot at the plant.
I was a very average student back in high school. If I can come back to school after eleven years, so can you. All you have to do is make that first step. You have the talent to succeed in anything you want. You have to work hard, but never give up and most importantly, never sell yourself short of anything. I work with a lot of special people at the fish plant, who think that is all they can do is work at the plant. But they are wrong; they all have special talents- they just have to let them out. It is the most rewarding feeling you could ever get coming back to school and achieving things that you never thought was possible. It also makes you feel good about yourself. No matter how learning you get out of going back to school, it will benefit you in the future. An education will never hurt you later on, and it isn't heavy to carry around.