Grad fulfills dream of a degree in Education

By Costa Maragos Posted: October 29, 2015 6:00 a.m.

You can return to university and succeed. Just ask Chris Kiosses who achieved his dream of a degree at the U of R.
You can return to university and succeed. Just ask Chris Kiosses who achieved his dream of a degree at the U of R. Photo by Rae Graham - U of R Photography.

Chris Kiosses has quite a story to share with his students at Thom Collegiate in Regina.

Kiosses, who has a major in Physical Education/Health and a minor in Social Studies from the U of R, can provide a real life lesson on never giving up when it comes to getting a degree. He’s 33 years old.

“If you were to tell me 10 years ago that I would be completing my degree at 33, I would not have believed you,” says Kiosses, who graduated from Sheldon-Williams Collegiate in Regina in 2000.

Following high school, he immediately enrolled in the U of R’s Education program.

“To be honest, there was quite a bit of family pressure to go to university. I didn’t feel I had the choice back then. My mom, like a lot of parents, urged me to go to university – and my grandparents as well,” remembers Kiosses.

But, things didn’t start so well.

“I didn’t take it seriously. I just wasn’t there mentally. I didn’t go to class all the time. I spent more time in the lab cafeteria playing cards than I was studying,” laughs Kiosses.

“By the time you get to your second and third year of Education, things get a lot more serious and I wasn’t getting the marks. I just felt university at that time wasn’t for me. My family was not thrilled. They just had higher expectations, especially my grandfather."

To the disappointment of his family, Kiosses quit school and started working and travelling. He saw much of Europe, regularly spending time in his family’s home country of Greece where he worked at his father’s restaurant for several summers.

Back in Regina, he was a server at Memories Fine Dining, where he continues to be employed.

“I love that job. I love being around people, meeting people and socializing. But in the back of my mind there was always that desire to teach, but I was just afraid to return to school.”

That feeling began to change when his grandfather suddenly passed away in 2008.

“When he passed away I remember my grandmother telling me how papou (the Greek word for grandfather) always hoped that I would return to university. At that moment I began to seriously look at my future. After all, I wasn’t going to stay 25 the rest of my life.”

In 2010, Kiosses connected with his former professor Dr. Nick Forsberg.

“I couldn’t believe he still remembered me after eight years. He walked me through the process of re-applying and making my journey back to the U of R.”

Kiosses returned to university in September 2010 and was accepted in Education the following year.

“I was relieved and thankful I got in. It was scary to be very honest. I remember my first class when I looked around and realized I’m 10 years older than my classmates,” says Kiosses.

“I thought to myself: ‘Am I able to do this? Am I able to get good marks?’ The turning point came at my first mid-term. I got an 88 and then I felt ‘Okay maybe I can do this’.”

So, if you’re thinking of giving university another shot, some advice from Kiosses.

“From my perspective, you still have to work at it, but as an adult I took my studies more seriously. It’s like a life lesson. If you want to be good at something you have to work at it. As for the age difference, you really won’t notice it after awhile. I’ve made great friends here who are much younger than me.”

Kiosses feels his story can serve as an inspiration to all who are contemplating returning to university life.

“I’ll miss being around the U of R. It’s been a great experience,” says Kiosses, who will get his degree at convocation next spring.

But there’s still one more step to take for Kiosses to complete his educational Odyssey.  

“I will take my diploma to the place where my papou is buried, in Guelph, Ontario, and place it next to him. Wherever he is, he will be smiling.”

Chris Kiosses is teaching, as an intern, grade 9 and 10 Phys. Ed and Health at Thom Collegiate. If you are contemplating a return to the U of R, we have people who can help you. For more information please visit here.