After years in the spotlight, recording albums and touring around the world, Trevor Hayhurst has returned to his home province of Manitoba to go back to school.
Hayhurst is the lead singer of Econoline Crush, which formed in 1992. The band played shows with the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Big Wreck and The Tea Party. They played Madison Square Garden and opened for Kiss on the Psycho Circus concert tour across United States in the late ’90s.
"There was a couple years, where we played over 300 shows," Hayhurst said. "We toured around, spent a lot of time in the States … that was my life, and I loved it and I still do, we still play shows."
Hayhurst, 46, grew up in Cromer and graduated from Virden Collegiate Institute. He attended Brandon University for a year after high school before pursuing a career in the music industry.
Hayhurst decided to return to the area and is currently in his second year at BU, where he is taking a bachelor of science.
"The music industry has kind of had a little bit of a shift," he said. "In order to achieve a certain level of success in terms of monetary gain, it’s really top-heavy. There’s a lot of big bands that are controlling a lot of stuff. And for bands that are of a moderate successful stature, the only way to really, really make money in the business is extensive touring."
Hayhurst is now a father of two young sons, Hudson, 4, and Benjamin, 2.
"I have two beautiful boys and I just could not go away from home for those lengths of time anymore," he said.
Hayhurst is studying psychiatric nursing with a minor in disaster aid.
"So at the end of the day when there’s a significant event, I would be able to handle the psychological aspects of it and then the day-to-day life … I could work in a nursing home assessing dementia or I could work in emergency … all kinds of stuff."
He said he didn’t know what to expect heading back to school as a mature student, but soon found it was a great experience.
"I’m producing bands that are 20 years old, 18 years old so I spend a lot of time with young people and I realize that … compared to generations previously, this generation doesn’t seem so hung up on how old you are," he said. "Going to class … I’ve never felt like the old student."
The only time he feels a bit older is when the professor makes a reference from the early ’90s, and he’s the only one who understands, Hayhurst said with a laugh.
Brandon University has launched a campaign to attract more mature students. Those over 21, who have been out of school for several years, are considered mature.
"This is long overdue," Brandon University president Deborah Poff said. "I think its really important for universities to serve their community and I think this is a great way to serve your community."
What many people don’t realize is that high school completion is not required.
"They think if they didn’t graduate high school 20 years ago, that it’s all over for them and it isn’t," Poff said.
Universities allow mature students to come to university to try courses and if they find they’re successful, they can do it simply for interest or pursue a degree.
"We’re not targeting people to get a degree, we’re just telling them that this is an opportunity they can try a course, they can see if they like it," Poff said. "See if it’s a good fit and it can improve the quality of their life because it’s always fun to learn things. For some of them it will be life-transforming and they’ll decide they want to get a university degree."
Poff said attracting mature students is also a way to help the university grow.
"There have been studies all over the country and … every community has a lot of people who wish they had gone to university … and all they need is a little encouragement," she said. "We’ll be developing a campaign in the near future, but this is just a first effort ... I would love to talk to people about this."
Carol Gibson, who is in her 40s, is currently in her third year at Brandon University, pursuing her bachelor of nursing.
Gibson has been working as a licensed practical nurse since 1982 and wanted to take that extra step to become a registered nurse.
"There is a lot more opportunity, more doors open for me with my degree than there is as an LPN," she said.
Gibson said going back to university was very nerve-racking and at first felt a bit out of place.
"I got over it really quickly," she said. "I’ve enjoyed it … I felt welcomed and the professors were great and I never had an issue with fellow students."