101 Days, 101 Strangers, 101 Stories: Day 99

I wish Dan had let me take a photo of him because he had a cool beard and glasses to match.

As I was waiting for the bus tonight, he came and sat a few feet away from me. When he took his eyes off his phone for a moment, I asked him if he’d share a bit of his story with me. He smiled, shook my hand and introduced himself. His name is Dan and he is my stranger of the day.

When we got on the bus, he told me that he’s pursuing a master’s degree in architecture at UBC. He was debating between law school and architecture and decided he’d leave his fate up to the admissions folks: ‘If law school accepts me, I’ll be a lawyer. If architecture school accepts me, I’ll be an architect’, he’d thought. He thought it would be easier that way. But then, to his dismay, he was accepted everywhere he applied. So he had to take a step back and ask himself what it was that he really wanted to do.  Ultimately, his decision came down to a reflection on the kind of people he’d be surrounding himself by in each program. He figured that the people in architecture would be more open and inspiring. He’s happy with his decision.

Dan pursued his undergraduate degree in economics and political science in Calgary. He really enjoyed the interdisciplinary aspect of it, which is probably why he later felt so conflicted between graduate programs. He really loves Calgary, and applauded mayor Nenshi for his dedication to the people of the city, especially during the floods. Dan told me about some intense Twitter debates that the mayor would engage in, noting that they that were actually about something useful and engaged the public in the process.

Dan likes to ride his bike. Some days, he rides his bike from downtown to UBC. He loves the way it feels to conquer the big hills, literal and otherwise, at the beginning of the day.

His advice? A quote from George Bush: “If it feels good, do it. If you’ve got a problem, blame somebody else.”


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