Then and now

(Edmonton) Physical Education & Recreation grads LilaJomaa and Lloyd Smith graduated 40 years apart—Jomaa in 2011, Smith in 1971. And although they share a University of Alberta degree, not much would be familiar to Jomaa were she to go back to Smith’s time on campus, while Smith has grown into the changes that have taken place since he was a student.

Smith was wandering through SUB in 1971 when he noticed a recruitment poster for teachers in Australia. He took them up on the offer and has lived there ever since. Jomaa is excited to start teaching Grade 4 in Edmonton. They both sat down to compare notes about the different technologies that shaped their lives.

“It was a big, old typewriter,” Smith remembers having used to type his essays on. “It must have weighed 50 pounds and you had to use Wite-Out to make corrections.”

“I had a white MacBook Pro,” Jomaa chimes in. Weight: 5.4 pounds. Not only did her computer weigh a tenth of Smith’s typewriter, it could contain an entire library on its optional 320-gigabyte hard drive. Speaking of libraries, Smith recalls rifling through index cards and once you found the book you wanted you’d carefully write down the location info and then trek off to the appropriate location only to find the book wasn’t there. “I’d make a hold request for the book online,” says Jomaa in comparison, “and they’d tell me when it was in.”

Smith couldn’t even make a phone request for such a thing on his dial phone while the first phone Jomaa had was a Samsung slide phone. “With my first paycheque I bought an iPhone. I’ve never had a land line.”

Other differences include the turntable Smith had that played vinyl records while Jomaa has an iPod with thousands of songs on it; Smith watched TV on an old box with rabbit ears while Jomaa DVR’s all shows to watch later or catches reruns online; Smith hung out off campus at Corona while Jomaa had beers on campus at RATT.

One thing they have in common, however, is the strong bond with their faculty and the university. “In phys ed you do a lot together,” says Smith. “It really creates a strong bond. A lot of things have to do with sports where you support each other.”

“My two sisters were jealous of my experience, of the camaraderie we all felt,” says Jomaa. “And I had a lot of great leadership opportunities.”

Both recall special teachers. For Smith it was his wrestling coach, Doc Taylor, while for Jomaa it was Brian Maraj and Pierre Baudin who, she says, were always incredibly involved. And now Smith and Jomaa are heading in opposite directions. Jomaa to start her career; Smith to bring his to an end when he retires in December.

But before they go their separate ways, here’s the grad-on-grad Lightning Round...

Movie Choice
Q: French Connection or A Clockwork Orange?
A: French Connection
Q: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 or Bridesmaids?
A: Bridesmaids

TV Choice
Q: All in the Family or Mary Tyler Moore?
A: All in the Family
Q: Glee or Jon Stewart?
A: Glee

Music Choice
Q: Rolling Stones or Bee Gees?
A: Rolling Stones
Q: Rolling Stones or Justin Bieber?
A: Justin Bieber

“I know,” laughs Jomaa about her music choice, “how embarrassing. But he really can sing...and he’s Canadian.”