A letter to the editor: “Do you see me now?”

I am a mature student, and I’d like to ask the other students on campus, “Do you see me?”

While walking the campus at Thompson Rivers University I am “invisibly” struck by the minori­ty that I represent. Young people are the norm on the campus and most extracurricular activities are geared towards these young people. We currently live in a time when the question of what I want to be when I grow up isn’t restricted to teenagers. As such, I would like to invite these young people and TRU to “walk a mile in my shoes.”

When I look around the campus at TRU, I feel a sense of pride in my university as I see the cultur­al diversity that is represented. At the same time that I feel pride, I am struck by the small group that I represent as a mature student. My age and disability set me apart from my peers and I can’t help but feel a little hesitation that I don’t belong. As I transverse these hallways and walkways of the campus, my young peers avoid my gaze, a smile of hello is ignored, and a cutting sigh of irritation is heard when I move too slowly. Can you not smile at me in return, look and see me, not through me, and have some under­standing that I am not going slowly as some conspiracy to hold you up?

I am truly blessed to live in Can­ada where there are no restrictions on age when it comes to educa­tion. I would also like to say that I think it is wonderful that there are so many activities provided by our student union, and yet outdoor movie nights are not something that I can do anymore. Pub nights, while interesting, aren’t something that I am interested in. Could our university offer indoor movie nights, possibly a family-friend­ly pool party utilizing the Canada Games pool, or even more cultural events?

I am a mature student, someone who has been a part of society and realized that education is the key to success. I have persevered in my life despite disappointment, depres­sion, and heartbreak. I once again issue TRU, as a whole, an invita­tion to see me, a mature student, as someone who walks with dignity and grace in a foreign environment alongside of you.

“Do you see me now?”

–Angela Gilbert