Day 228 - Jesse (1st person I approached)
August 16, 2014 - Jesse was sitting in the food court of a local mall I was passing through. He had no hesitation about saying yes to chatting, and checked out my page on Facebook before we even started chatting. We spoke a little bit about my motivation for the project, and about social media in general.
Jesse was born in Vancouver, British Columbia (BC). His family moved to Vernon (in the southern interior of BC) when Jesse was twelve years old.
“My father got a job offer and we moved. I remember I was worried about it. I wasn’t an extremely outgoing kid, so the prospect of a new school was scary. It was in like, November as well, so it wasn’t even during a summer break. I have two younger sisters. The moving brought me and my sister that is just three years younger than I am, closer together. We really only had each other. We’ve grown even closer as the years have gone by. My youngest sister was too young to be effected by the move,” he said. Jesse was actively involved in sports at school, and that helped with the transition, and in making friends.
"I was into baseball and football, and if you play well, you earn the respect of the other kids and it makes things easier,” he said.
In fact Jesse played football so well, he got a scholarship to attend college in Chicago, Illinois.
“It was a small college with about as many students as were in my high-school. The difference was you could get degree’s at this college. It was a liberal arts school, and I was studying general arts, with an interest in English. I was thinking about getting into journalism. I was also playing football. I lived in residence, and joined a fraternity. All the typical college stuff you do at eighteen,” he said. On a trip home to visit his family, Jesse remembers one night his father and he going to Tim Horton’s (a popular nationwide chain of coffee/donut shops) at around 8:00pm.
“I knew something was up because my Dad never drank coffee past twelve. We had a talk about my grades, which had slipped somewhat. My father gave me a reminder about why I was there in college. It was true, I had been partying, having fun and not applying myself as much as I could have with regard to school. It was a great wake-up call for me,” said Jesse.
“I went back and really got my head down and focussed, and did what I could to improve my grades.” In his second year in Chicago, Jesse had a realization.
“I’m very much a family guy and I started to realize that I didn’t want to be so far away from my family, and I missed BC. I didn’t see a future for me in Chicago, so after my second year, I left college, and returned to Vernon,” he told me.
“I realized something else about myself through going to Chicago. I was still somewhat reserved and being there I had pushed through to the completely opposite side of the scale. I worked to find that middle ground and a balance be more comfortable.”
Back home in Vernon, Jesse took some time off.
“I did some courses to up my grades. I was considering moving to Calgary or Vancouver. I went to Calgary on vacation, and there was three feet of snow and it was minus twenty (celsius). I knew that I didn’t want to live there. So I moved to Vancouver. I didn’t really intend to continue playing football, but I did in the end. I applied to get into UBC (University of British Columbia). I got a letter from the Dean of the Faculty (of Arts) saying that they wouldn't be able to accept me into the program. My grades were ok, but there were many students trying to get in who had higher marks than mine, I guess,” said Jesse.
“I wrote the Dean a letter and asked her to reconsider. I told her I just wanted one semester to prove that I had what it takes and to please give me a chance. I got accepted, for one semester to show what I had. I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree, my major was in English Literature, two years later! And I had a 3.5 GPA (grade point average - 90% or an ‘A’) as well!”
Jesse went for a job interview with a local start-up company.
“To get into journalism I would have had to go to school more and I just wanted to be working. At the interview, I told the interviewer everything I thought he wanted to hear. I got some clients together and helped them to set up a staffing company. I learned a lot in that role. I work for a different company now, but I’m still in recruitment,” he said. Jesse was running a few errands before heading out this evening for a first date.
“We’re going for a couple of drinks and to just get to know one another,” he said.
I took Jesse’s picture and thanked him for taking the time to chat with me.
“I’m so happy you stopped and asked me to chat. I don’t spend a lot of time watching the news. There’s so much that's not good happening, and even on Twitter you hear about all the negative things going on around the work. But I feel sometimes that I’m missing out on the good things that are going on, like your project, “ he said.
“Coming from a smaller town, it’s nice to have someone stop and say hello and to chat with. I find that even though Vancouver is a cosmopolitan city with all kinds of different people, it’s still challenging to get people to engage in conversation. Everyone looks away or keeps walking if you even say hello. Back in Vernon, people you don’t even know want to know all about you and your sex life and everything,” says Jesse with a hearty laugh.
“I’m glad our paths crossed. Thank you.” #notastranger