Some­times it’s about the jour­ney

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - By Mi­randa Ligh­stone

Whenmy old high school con­tacted me about at­tend­ing their Ca­reer Fair to speak about be­ing a jour­nal­ist to their grade 10, 11 and 12 students, I was a bit shocked. I’m a writer and an ed­i­tor, not a game-changer. What could the chil­dren pos­si­bly learn from me?

But I agreed to present, and hopped in my 2013 Volk­swa­gen Jetta TDI test ve­hi­cle to make the near-200 km jour­ney out to my old stomp­ing grounds.

Along the wind­ing, slop­ing high­way route lined with orange, red, yel­low and brown fo­liage as far as the eye could see, the Jetta and I fell into a rhythm. As I rem­i­nisced about my days at Stanstead Col­lege (the uni­forms; the board­ing houses; the 20-minute bell; the sprawl­ing cam­pus; the sit-down meals), the Jetta kept me firmly planted in the present, on sched­ule and topped up on fuel.

As my 2-hour drive came to an end in the Jetta TDI and we rolled into Stanstead, I took a few de­tours be­fore head­ing to the school, vis­it­ing the house where my grand­par­ents lived for nearly three decades and where I spent ev­ery sum­mer and Christ­mas for years; then on to my old house where we lived for two years be­fore mov­ing to the big city.

Driv­ing through the small town in the Jetta TDI, it all felt rather sym­bolic. I was look­ing back on the foun­da­tion that helped me be­come who I am to­day. My time liv­ing in Stanstead and at­tend­ing Stanstead Col­lege molded me into the per­son I am to­day. It is my base. And I felt sat­is­fied to be re­vis­it­ing those mem­o­ries in a car just as sta­ble, re­li­able and un­fal­ter­ing as that past proved to be for me.

Speak­ing with other in­vi­tees to the Ca­reer Fair, I started to feel rather “small” amongst the en­gi­neers, fighter pi­lots, RCMP of­fi­cers and sci­en­tists. There I was: the lowly writer. I had no props (guns for the RCMP of­fi­cer, hel­mets and skates for the en­gi­neer) and no uni­form (the fighter pi­lot had his hel­met and all), just some busi­ness cards and a lap top.

And yet, the chil­dren I spoke to were en­gaged in what I had to say. They had ques­tion upon ques­tion about how jour­nal­ism has changed, how I make my­self stand out, and how to suc­ceed s a writer in a world where “any­one” can do it.

Dur­ing one of my three ses­sions, I men­tioned how (no mat­ter what), it’s im­por­tant to love what you do or you won’t do it well. Not only am I pas­sion­ate about cars, but I love to write and I’m happy ev­ery morn­ing when my alarm goes off. I want to go to work.

This gar­nered a stand­ing ova­tion from a few students, and I have to ad­mit; it made me blush.

As I walked out to my Jetta TDI at the end of the night, I stood for a mo­ment and looked at the Moka coloured ve­hi­cle, drip­ping with au­tumn rain, sit­ting un­der a bright red maple tree: It was me, and my ca­reer.

The VW Jetta TDI is one of those cars you might not notice on the road, but it’s so im­por­tant to the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try. It doesn’t have tons of props or doo­dads (at least not that you’d notice right away). It’s one of those ve­hi­cles that can change the game, in a sub­tle kind of way. It’s un­wa­ver­ing, well-built and it knows where it stands in the in­dus­try. It’s not try­ing to be any­thing it’s not. And, de­spite the rapid changes go­ing on around it in the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try, it stands strong in its con­vic­tions as an ex­pert in its do­main.

I thought my short trip to Stanstead would be un­event­ful and per­haps even a bit em­bar­rass­ing, but it turned out it was an en­light­en­ing trip in more ways than one. Some­times it re­ally is nec­es­sary to visit the past in or­der to pave the way for your fu­ture. Reprinted with per­mis­sion


Love al­ways,

Wife, Joyce Chil­dren, Ar­lie, Brian, Gary, Bev­erly, Donna, Shane

and Fam­i­lies.

photo cour­tesy Mi­randa Light­stone re­turned to Stanstead Col­lege to talk about her ca­reer as a writer.

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