We caught up with LJ Good Eagle (BHSc '21), class of 2021, about his time at ULethbridge and what returning to campus for this year's Convocation ceremony means to him.

Returning to campus for my convocation means the world to me. It completes my educational journey that I never thought would occur during my lifetime. This completes my bachelor's educational journey, but not the end of my educational journey as a whole. In order to get the whole experience, I want to make the traditional walk up for graduates knowing that I earned my spot, and belong with the other graduates.

Where has life taken you since you graduated from the BHSc Addictions Counselling program?

Life has taken me to the Tatsikiisaapo'p Middle School on the Blood Reserve. I am a school counsellor for Grades 6 to 8 and it is truly been a job that I have been waiting for. I am gaining experience that I never thought would be possible and learning truly the meaning of strength and resilience through the children is something that is helping me become a better person every day.

Tell us a bit about your experiential or work-integrated learning experiences at ULethbridge.

I completed my Junior Internship at the Supervised Consumption Services (SCS). One of the biggest takeaways was understanding what empathy is. To learn about it in class is one thing, but integrating it into work and personal life is what matters most. Empathy taught me a lot and helps me to become a better counsellor every day and continue to learn with each interaction that occurred. Knowing what empathy is from being at the SCS truly helps me in my life.

The second biggest takeaway that also occurred at the SCS was patience. Without patience, the therapeutic relationships that occurred would not have occurred naturally. Throughout my learning at ULethbridge, knowing my classmates allowed me to have the courage to grow into the student I became. Not knowing who walked into the SCS and then having the patience to wait for the walls to slowly come down to communicate is a lifelong learning experience I will never forget.

Was there a particular individual or group of people that had a strong influence on you during your time at ULethbridge?

Yes; all the professors, instructors and staff in addictions counselling. Their personal input and different teaching styles, along with their willingness to help me at a moment's notice, helped me to become a strong student and allowed me to get the best out of the program.

Without my wife Sarah who was there from the start, my rock and my best friend with her love and support, my educational journey would not have been possible. If it weren’t for her believing in me knowing that I can complete post-secondary, I would not have the strength to complete my degree. Also a big thank you to my extended family, Sarah’s mother Isabelle and sisters, who are always supportive of me throughout my years at the university.

What are your hopes and plans for the future?

My hope is to continue counselling and to work towards entering a master's program. The bachelor's program has helped me become the student I am, and now helping me realize that I can achieve a higher level of education.

Is there any advice you would like to give to future students?

My degree helped me understand who I am. If you have dreams, do not be afraid to chase them, and do not be afraid of the hard work. Prior to attending the University of Lethbridge, I thought being an older male student would help me but that became my weakness. It hindered me early on and it showed in my grades. I was being stubborn, not listening to constructive input and thinking I knew it all, my educational experience became very stressful. I had to take a step back to understand what was happening with me and re-evaluate what I wanted and what my goals were.

After making changes in my mindset by learning to ask for help, truly learning to listen and working hard and steady, I began to be successful. Believing in yourself and what you stand for, can bring forth more meaning in the work you do.

Thanks for sharing with us, LJ! Congratulations and best of luck on your career journey ahead!

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