Balancing life as a full-time student and mother to three children hasn't been easy but Virginia Ridge asks for help when she needs it and makes sure to take some time for herself.

Meet Virginia: Determined | Passionate | Thoughtful
Program: Bachelor of Health Sciences | Major: Addictions Counselling

Why did you choose ULethbridge?

I have lived in southern Alberta for over 20 years now and Lethbridge specifically for eight years. Location is part of the reason, and the Addictions Counselling Program, not to mention all of the amazing things I heard about prior to commencing at ULethbridge, is the other big reason.

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What is your most memorable ULethbridge experience?

It is too hard to pick just one; there are so many. I've connected with some amazing instructors and professors, and the support and encouragement I have received from them would be at the top of that list.

How have your professors supported your education?

They have given me the opportunity to not only learn the course material in a field I am incredibly passionate about but have also been incredibly supportive, non-judgmental and understanding of various life circumstances that have occurred for me over the last few years. As a mature student and single mother of three amazing children, there have been some trying circumstances in the last few years!

Is there anyone who has had an important influence on your ULethbridge experience?

Dr. Bonnie K. Lee, Jason Solowoniuk, Cindy Gaetz, Callista Chasse, Erin Kardolous and the academic advisors for the program.  I honestly can’t thank them all enough!!

What are your hopes and plans for the future?

I would like to work as an addictions counsellor for Alberta Health Services. In the longer term, I have every intention of returning to ULethbridge to get my master’s and hopefully, one day teach in the addictions counselling program. 

What do you like to do in your free time?

Spend time with my family and friends, walk my dog, read something that is not a textbook (lol).  I am from B.C. originally; I like to spend time in the mountains, especially back home in the West Kootenays, at least once a year. There hasn’t been very much ‘free time’ between school and work. I also paint, sew and crochet, I find those hobbies are excellent de-stressors!

What advice would you give someone about to start their journey at ULethbridge?

Don’t be afraid to reach out to instructors, or whomever, if you need help with anything. And make sure to take time for yourself, self-care is extremely important!