Skip to content

Ask Lisi: Do some research before going back to university

Once you’ve found a few programs you like, look at the financials, including housing. Ask about financial assistance through scholarships, grants, or aid.

I’m a 24-year-old man looking to start my life over. I was an unruly teenager. I was mean to girls and into every drug I found. I drank a lot, slept a lot, and avoided school, though I didn’t flunk out.

My parents weren’t helpful; my mom is a functioning alcoholic and my dad travels for work, but never seems to make ends meet. They fight about money, his travel, and her drinking.

I couldn’t wait to leave their house and go out on my own. I signed up for university, chose a program because the prettiest girls were in it, and moved into residence. My parents helped financially on the condition that I kept my grades up.

I didn’t, they stopped the cash flow, and I dropped out. I found work in bars and construction, and lived with friends until I could afford rent. I’ve been on my own for five years. I’ve matured, stopped all the drugs (though I still drink for fun), and I’m a much nicer person.

I think I’d like to go back to school but I’m not sure for what, how I’ll afford it, and if it’s the right thing for someone my age. I’d love your advice.

Starting over

At 24, you’re not starting over, you’re starting a new chapter. Yes, you started the road most travelled, hit a few too many potholes and got derailed. That’s OK. In fact, many would suggest that starting university at 24, when you have a much better idea of who you are and how you want your life to look, is the better route.

Since there’s no pressure on you, I suggest taking time to do your research. Talk to a guidance/career counsellor. It’s possible to find an unaffiliated one online. They can help you narrow down the multitude of options out there.

Once you’ve found a few programs that interest you, and schools that offer these programs, look at the financials including housing. Ask about financial assistance through scholarships, grants, or aid. Since you’re paying, you’re going to want to consider your options carefully.

And then go for it! I think it’s fantastic that you have the courage and confidence to face the world head-on.

Dear Lisi: My husband and I divorced years ago. Since then, I have had many relationships. Some lasted years, others only months. But I haven’t found someone to last forever. I had a long-term boyfriend in high school, another in university, and then met my husband in grad school. We married and had two children before his mental health took over and our marriage dissolved.

I’ve tried to be the best parent possible, especially since my ex was incapable of maintaining his relationship with the children. My children have suffered, from the divorce, the misunderstood abandonment, and their own inherited mental health issues.

They’re now older, independent, but still live at home. I have a good job, own my own home, keep myself fit and healthy. Why aren’t I meeting the right guy???

Disillusioned and Lonely

You’ve been through a lot and you still have a full plate. It’s time you make time for yourself, to look within and figure out who you are and what you want out of life.

If being outdoors is where you feel happiest, for example, join a local hiking club where you’ll meet like-minded people…. and their friends. Create an online dating profile with as much as specifics as you comfortably can. For example, your dating range, your goal (not looking for one-nighters), your deal-breakers (pets, smokers, religion, etc.).

Be open to trying new things and meeting new people. I can’t guarantee anything, but if you keep looking, you should find who you’re looking for.

FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who “loses” her friend whenever she’s not around (March 20):

Reader – “Does this writer even know what the neighbour does when not at the farm? Have they even bothered to ask? Just knowing could provide an answer. It could also open the possibility of further shared interests.”

Lisi – I love this! You make a very good point. Knowing what her friend does when she’s in the city could have a huge impact. She may understand much better why the friend “disappears.” And, as you also suggested, it could lead to more of a connection between them.

Reader 2 – “She sounds overly dependent on this one friend. She needs to cultivate new friendship(s)!

“She should be encouraged to broaden her horizons by seeking out new friendships through the local church(es), volunteer work, and/or getting involved in community activities during the time her only friend is away in the city.”

Ellie Tesher and Lisi Tesher are advice columnists based in Toronto. Send your relationship questions via email: or

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks