Janey Deacon-Rosamond's (BFA/BEd '23) time at the University of Lethbridge was all about exploration. She says persistent trial and error eventually led her down the path she was meant to take, and she's now entered her first job as a teacher with a passion for helping students find their way.

University is the time and place to explore what you do and don't enjoy. The pressure of believing that we have to decide exactly what we want to do for the rest of our lives in our late teens is beyond stressful, to say the least. It's okay if the first choice you make isn't one that you stick with! Feel empowered to explore all of the options available to you.

Meet Janey. Virgo. Advocate for sexual violence prevention. Teacher.
Program: Bachelor of Fine Arts/Bachelor of Education
Major: Dramatic Arts/Drama Education

The path that Janey Deacon-Rosamond found herself on when she completed her time as at ULethbridge is not the one she took her initial steps on as a first-year undergraduate student.

"I had spent a year at Carleton University in Ottawa, pursuing a degree in forensic psychology. I left due to personal reasons and felt rather stuck in the unknown of what to do next," she says. Following a gut feeling, Janey applied to transfer to ULethbridge. "I thought that I could totally shift directions from forensic psychology and indulge in my passion for drama. I had also heard about the Faculty of Education and their incredible reputation, so I thought that attending would be a win-win for myself and my family."

A passionate advocate for sexual violence prevention, Janey says she had long considered working towards a career as a sex education teacher. "When I graduated high school, I began reading about the skyrocketing rates of sexually transmitted infections across Alberta," she says. "I had also experienced sexual violence and heard a sickening amount of stories from others in my life who shared that experience."

While her academic path led her to Drama as a major at ULethbridge, her work outside of the classroom, advocating for sexual violence prevention on campus, became a critical part of her student experience. Her hard work resulted in being recognized as Student of the Year by the University of Lethbridge Students' Union (ULSU) at its annual awards in April of 2022.

That recognition solidified in me a feeling that the path I was on, and continue to follow, was the right one. Since winning that award I have felt reinvigorated to take chances.

Janey's education journey was not without its bumps in the road, but she says now she can appreciate how she was able to weather the storm.

"I changed my major three times throughout my six years at school! I started my university career in forensic psychology and will be graduating with a combined degree in drama and education," she says.

The decision to switch majors, all three times, was incredibly difficult. It was not difficult because I had to redo anything or because I lost credits, none of those things happened, it was difficult because of how hard I was on myself each time I changed my path.  

She says her advice to students who may be beginning, renewing or restarting their university journey at ULethbridge is to be curious and to have compassion for yourself while doing so.

"Starting your degree in a Bachelor of Management and ending it in a Bachelor of Fine Arts doesn't mean anything other than you discovered more about yourself," she says. "If you're spending all of this money, time and effort to be at university, you may as well use it as a tool and space for self-discovery as much as you do a tool for gaining knowledge."

She says the students she's encountered through her practicum placements with the Faculty of Education have also helped her with self-discovery along the way; igniting a spark that she wasn't always sure was there.  

"Before beginning my Professional Semester I, I felt rather uninspired. I had heard nothing but horror stories about the workload and increasing stress levels among teachers, especially post-pandemic," she says. "Once I was able to get in the classroom, however, I felt inspired by my students. Following the events of 2020, I was feeling the sadness, angst and anger that everyone else was feeling. Working with my grade ones flipped a switch in me."

Six-year olds are honest, they seek out challenges, they are good and kind friends to each other. Six-year olds are not thinking about taxes, about elections, about the state of the world. They taught me to look for the reasons and moments in life to feel excited about. The funny thing is that a lot of what my grade ones were excited about were the unknowns- the exact thing that led me to ULethbridge. I am inspired to be a teacher because my students inspire me to think, be and do better.

Janey began a job with the Calgary Board of Education in May and says she plans to begin a graduate certificate in sexual health from the University of Alberta beginning in September.

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