In Ontario high school involved grades 9 to 13 while in Nova Scotia high school only went to grade 12. I dropped out of school in grade 12 when it became clear that I had no hope of passing. Given that I had already failed grade 7 I felt it was futile to continue. So the last grade that I successfully passed was grade 11 which was two years short of a high school diploma.
After a few years of traveling the world I became to realize that this may not be the rewarding future I was seeking.. Many of the sailors that were working along side me chipping paint on the folc'sle were 10 and 15 years older than me. I thought, is this where I'm going to be in 15 years - chipping the same paint on the upper deck? So I decided to set my goal to become an officer who from my perspective had it pretty good. They really didn't do anything and got to sleep in their own cabin which was a dream when you're sharing a mess deck with 50 other sailors.
The plan that I envisioned was that I would get a high school diploma, enroll in the Nova Scotia Institute of Technology (NSIT), graduate as a Technologist and apply to become a Combat Systems Engineer (CSE). The CSE was the person who my boss's boss's boss reported to. So wouldn't it be great to come back in three years and be able to tell my boss's boss's boss what to do. :)
So I started with taking correspondence courses from the Radio College of Canada. I then enrolled in a grade 12 English course at Queen Elizabeth High School - then a math course at Dartmouth High - then a physics course in Bedford High and so on. Finally after 3 years of continuing education I had earned a high school diploma.
Earning a high school diploma through continuing education programs, really wasn't that easy. When the ship was alongside in harbour I had to stand watches. That is every five days I had to spend 24 hours on board the ship. When I was free to attend evening classes I had to drive sometimes 30 minutes to the school and often I was attending two or three schools at a time. When the ship was at sea I completed assignments that I got from my teachers before we left port and then studied feverishly trying to catch up when we got back to Halifax.
When I started I naively thought that I could earn a high school diploma in one year or 18 months at the most. However the reality was that it took me well over three years to reach this milestone. Although it took longer than planned the result was that I had the high school diploma that I needed to be accepted into the officer training program to study at NSIT. So, with my newly minted high school diploma in hand I applied for the program. Unfortunately, I wasn't accepted :(
Although I could have simply waited and applied the following year, it was important to me to that I continue my studies while things were fresh. So I decided to do it on my own. I applied for and was granted Leave without Pay to attend NSIT on my own.