I am a silver haired student

I stood in line to register for my program. I was going back to school as a mature student with silver hair.

My stomach was tied up in knots as I waited in line with the other students. I glanced over the line up and saw all young faces. Not one seemed over 30 with the exception of one woman. It turned out she was mother of one the students waiting in line.

Self doubt began to settle into my mind, but any thoughts  of leaving were out of the question. My feet were firmly on the floor and refused to follow my mind’s resolve to leave.

The mother of the youth asked me nicely, if I was there to register my own child. My only reply was to shake my head in response to her inquiry as I was too nervous.

I finally made it to the front line and to the registration desk. My transcripts were back in the day when there was no electronic grades transfers. Mine were practically etched in stone; that was how old they were. I was lucky to find them.

The woman at the computer quietly entered my information in her data base. I sat there on the chair. Putting my purse on the floor and picking it up again. I was trying to focus on breathing and not passing out from sheer anxiety.

All the negative reasons as to what I was doing in going back to school ran through my mind: I was old. I was brown. I had difficulty learning. I was broke.

A mixture of emotions after registering as a mature student.

Then all the positive reasons also came to mind: Yes, I was old but had years of various learning experiences. A few that were documented on paper.

Yes, I was brown, but well respected as an Indigenous community leader.

Yes, I had learning issues, but I had overcome them to further my education.

Yes, I was broke, but was resourceful in finding funding for my goals.

I heard the woman asking me a question. I looked at her and sat up straighter in my chair.  My resolve told me I belonged here and I finished the registration with the woman at the desk. I was now registered for my professional photography program.

I walked out of the building. A bit overwhelmed by what I did a few minutes ago. I recalled seeing this course a few months ago. I love taking pictures and wanted to further my skills in that area.

I did some research and found this program at Red River College. I must have read that paper program so much that it had ragged edges from me reading it so much.

I had finally found the courage to apply for the course. There are a few more barriers to overcome before my program starts. Still, personal aspirations don’t allow obstacles to stop one from achieving one’s goals.

I am a silver haired student.

Vivian Ketchum


I am an Indigenous woman from Wauzhushk Onigum Nation, a First Nation community outside of Kenora, Ontario. I have lived in Winnipeg, Manitoba for the past ten years. My hobby is photography and I consider myself an amateur photographer. I live in the central area of Winnipeg and enjoy the challenges of residing in the core area.

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