Taylor epitomizes bronze & gold and we couldn't be more excited to feature our long time friend as a guest writer! He humbly embodies the traits of many celebrity heart throbs. He's that kind of all around good guy who feeds his wild side cruisin' through the summer on a bad ass motorcycle. Taylor's insanely positive attitude and ability to make everyone he meets feel special is truly unparalleled!
When I was 17, I couldn’t imagine being anywhere other than Winchester. How could it possibly get any better? I have my own car, my friends live a short drive away, and my Mom makes my dinner every night.
At 21, I couldn’t believe that I was enjoying living in Ottawa so much. I mean, I finally felt like I had a handle on university, I lived a five minute walk from the canal, and although I now had to cook my own meals, at least I was becoming better at piecing together a recipe.
By 23 I had packed up and travelled the 401 to Toronto, where I would wake up every morning excited about my new roommate, my new school, and a new city to explore. My new home was less familiar than my previous two, but equally rewarding.
When condensing the last eight years of my life into 150 words, it can be laid out simply. That’s the beauty of retrospect- anything can be packaged and presented neatly, without conflict. I do, however, consider myself to be extremely fortunate, because so much of our lives are left up to chance; to plain luck. Nonetheless, we cannot forget that we have the ultimate influence to take the decisions we make, as well as those made for us, and spin them positively.
I myself, have never been terribly extraordinary. I am an average athlete, my academic performance has always been standard, only scratching the surface of the high school honour role, and I follow the social commonality that it’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice. Something that I do feel makes me special, however, is the ability to take that great luck I referenced and match it with a positive attitude. Staying committed to that optimism often results in my own productivity, allowing me to make the most of the hands that I am dealt. The following are only a few instances of my sheer luck and simple ability to seek out a silver lining and magnify it.
The Significance of Being Born in 1991
Shout out to my parents for great timing. This stroke of luck landed me in the midst of an amazing group of people. Winchester Public School class of ‘03 was an absolute gold mine of quality kids, which I would be fortunate enough to grow up with. Contained in this very same year was another flock of great people who came together to successfully navigate the emotional rollercoaster we call high school, as the NDDHS class of 2009. To this day, I remain conscious of this lucky break, and completely fond of the year that I was born and the people who distinguished it as special.
Being able to Growing Up in Winchester
Once again, this was another valuable decision made for me by top-notch parents; however, I like to think that I put in the leg-work to make the most of our rural surroundings. Now, I accumulated a healthy amount of city-raised friends later in life who couldn’t fathom a childhood void of a local mall or movie theater. “What did you do for fun?” they would ask in a tone loaded with pity. The answer I gave was simple and always the same: “We made our own.” From quarry swimming, to bonfire parties, or merely riding around listening to the radio, we were self-sufficient and we forged our own good times.
Being Introduced to the Idea of Residence Life
Leaving home for the first time to live on a university campus is a decision that I regard as one of the most profoundly influential I’ve ever made; although, this idea of departing for a new chapter in the city was not originally my own. Thanks to the encouragement of my then-girlfriend, Dara, and the rest of the Bowie family, I felt confident enough to embark upon my first year of pseudo-independence at Carleton University, surrounded by a busy streets, new friends, and a fresh routine. Being open to learning new things and meeting new people that year changed my life and thrust me forward as an adult, teaching me that the fear that “new” can create is worth its weight in gold, but also worth its weight in beer and chicken wings.
Moving to Toronto and Making it Home
To become a teacher, I chose to shake things up and accept an offer from the University of Toronto. If I had learned anything from my time Carleton, it was that, with the right outlook, change could often be transformed into opportunity, and I was willing to test my own theory. Armed with my exceptionally beautiful partner in crime, Laura, and two sets of parents supportive enough to deliver us to our new home in Toronto, we bought a subway pass, a Blue Jays hat, and set out together to try our hands at becoming Torontonians. If city living interests you, even a little bit, it takes no effort at all to fall in love with this one. Toronto in the summer boasts lively patios, mid-day baseball games, and bike-paths connecting the city, while the winter brings bright Christmas lights, a plethora of Starbucks, and another NHL season with my beloved Toronto Maple Leafs. This is not to mention a strong group of old friends paired with a classroom full of new ones. This new place became home very quickly, and this was because we were open to the fact that we could feel as affectionately about Toronto as we do Ottawa or Winchester, if given the chance.
Following a Lead and Finding Opportunity
Fortunately, one day in class at U of T, a professor of mine mentioned an upcoming job fair for Canadian Independent Schools. With slim job prospects of teaching in the public school board, my classmates and I dressed up, printed résumés, and hoped for the best. I left that day, after meeting with schools that seemed far beyond the realm of possibility of any new teacher, feeling humbled. With another stroke of luck, I was contacted for an interview by St. Andrew’s College, the school that I now work at every day. Never did I imagine finding a school so dynamic, with staff so welcoming and dedicated to giving truly amazing kids the opportunity to have what I did in high school: a place decide who you are and what kind of adult you want to be, but also to learn that we make our own luck by facing decisions head on with good intentions and the conviction to invent your own success.