When I was younger…

Rebecca Stanisic

I’m at the age where I say, ‘when I was younger…’ or ‘back in my day...’ far more than I expected to and it’s often about technology. I don’t know when this transition happened, but here I am. It just started to come out. I now frequently regale the kids with stories of yesteryear as every generation before me has done.  

When I share these stories it’s not always with a nostalgic sadness or a longing for a time that used to be. That’s far from the case. I’m an Elder Millennial, a Xellennial if you prefer. I spent most of my high school learning about Netscape and the internet which for me, at the time, was mostly a game machine and ICQ portal. Then I spent much of my twenties, and beyond, with all the world’s information in my pocket. It’s a transition that has been interesting as I’ve seen a lot of new changes with technology over the years, for better and worse.  

Photo of a red floppy disk

My eldest recently applied to post-secondary education, a process that was entirely online, aside from the in-person information sessions the school held.  

The transcripts were uploaded by the high school, the forms filled in electronically. The acceptances (yay!) were also sent with a notification online.  

Back in my day… (see, I told you!) we did it all via paper. Official submissions were mailed off and we waited for what we hoped was a LARGE envelope filled with an acceptance and a folder about the school and the upcoming term. A smaller envelop possibly meant a rejection letter. But I could be making that up too since it was so long ago.  

There’s something to be said about the current ‘instant’ process. It was quick, and other than refreshing email and the portal to see if there was an update, you didn’t have to wait to get the mail daily. I think this is a positive change and one that makes sense. 

This isn’t the only area in education that leads me to bring up the ‘when I was younger’ stories. Now, the kids are pulling out laptops and PowerPoint to create presentations instead of bubble letters and cut-outs on Bristol board. Remember the bubble letters?! 

They are reviewing notes in Google Classroom and Word documents and submitting work almost exclusively online with a few exceptions. I was happy to see printed study notes with colour coding recently being used. I am a big believer in having paper copies and writing out some notes!  

All of this seems so different from our days of projectors and VHS stands.  

Every generation will have their own stories, their own ways of doing things. There is room for all experiences and to learn from each other or develop an understanding thanks to the differences. 

I suspect if you are a parent of a certain age, with kids who are older, you have your own ‘when I was younger’ stories that you share. Do they hang on your every word, or do you hear a faint whisper of ‘here we go again’ as you begin? Just wondering.  

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