While I didn’t expect anything like this when I signed up, I finished that semester with a new appreciation for the ability to grow when facing new and uncomfortable experiences.
What is your most memorable uLethbridge - Calgary Campus experience and why?
Throughout my time at the University of Lethbridge I had many memorable experiences, but one that stands out in my mind was a drama course led by Jamie Dunsdon I took over the summer in 2019. It was already a huge stretch out of my comfort zone to register for a drama class, however with wanting to try to have a bit of fun over the summer I decided to give it a try.
What started as a totally awkward group of students participating in vocal cord warm-ups, ended up being one of the most connected experiences I have had in a classroom. We laughed together as we played games in the halls while other students looked on in horror from their classrooms and cried together as we opened our lives to each other through the power of spoken word. While I didn’t expect anything like this when I signed up, I finished that semester with a new appreciation for the ability to grow when facing new and uncomfortable experiences.
Is there someone specific who had an important influence on your Calgary Campus experience?
At the start of my final year, I had the opportunity to take a class with Dr. Robbin Derry and experienced a connection with a professor that I hadn’t had in previous courses. The class was Gender, Race, and Leadership and was hands down one of the most valuable courses I have taken. The passion Robbin has for the subject matter, and more importantly her students, is evident in every interaction.
I had the opportunity early in the semester to go for a walk with Robbin and to this day am still in contact with her, and always look forward to the conversation and ongoing guidance she provides. As many students and faculty know, Robbin has a passion for knitting, and amid the pandemic helped me pick it up, even going out of her way to provide me with a starter kit of yarn and needles. I would suggest everyone take a class with Robbin; however, she has just announced her transition into retirement, making me even more thankful for having the opportunity to learn from her in my final year!
What is the most important lesson you learned?
It’s never too late to go back to school and change your path. I went back to the University of Lethbridge 9 years into a career in accounting with the goal of graduating with a major in accounting, but here I am 4 years later graduating with a major in management and no longer working as an accountant. We are never done growing and it’s ok to think you are heading in one direction, only to have an experience that throws that path off course. Keep in mind that progress is rarely a straight line, and that things always have a way of working themselves out for the best.
What are your hopes/plans for the future?
On the same day I wrote my last final exam I also started a job I would have only dreamed about years earlier. With the help of the University of Lethbridge I was able to gain the skills and confidence to successfully pivot the direction of my career into something that makes me excited to get up and go to work every day. I am so excited for the future, and as we start to see the world opening, look forward to having the opportunity to celebrate with all my fellow graduates and walk across the stage in Lethbridge one day soon.
What advice would you give to students who are about to begin their post-secondary journeys?
It will feel like the end is never in sight, especially when you are working 40+ hour weeks, and grinding out courses one by one at night. It’s easy to not appreciate the experience and simply put your head down and work through the pain. Take a minute to breath and look around at the people and experiences that are shaping the future you. Before you know it, you will be graduating and moving on to new and exciting things, and you will be glad you took the time to reflect. Don’t discount the commitment you have made in yourself to further your education, what you are working towards now is huge and worthy of being very proud of, don’t wait until the end to realize this, be proud every day.