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Emily's Story

Ever since kindergarten, I wanted to be a nurse when I grew up. So you can imagine how exciting it was for me to finally get the opportunity to begin researching and applying to nursing schools around the country. I had my eyes set on Queen’s, Western, the University of New Brunswick, the University of Ottawa, and other large universities, scrutinizing criteria to get in. And so I got to work. I started perfecting every aspect of my life. I got straight A’s in school, was a competitive ringette player, soccer player, and runner, had tons of friends, volunteered every other weekend, and was an active member of clubs and groups in my high school. I felt like I was in control of my future and I knew that my perfect life would lead to a perfect application and I would be accepted into all of my dream schools for my dream program.

Needless to say, I burnt out. All of that hard work and dedication landed me in a situation where I struggled with my mental health, received twelve university rejection letters, failed a calculus class, had grades dropping to C’s, and I didn’t have one single friend. I hated myself. I felt like a failure. I barely had enough willpower to get out of bed in the morning, I skipped school so much I was threatened with expulsion. I felt like I had nothing to live for. I felt like I had lost control and, quite frankly, I felt like I blew it.

I had visited Timmins the year before as a coach in the Ontario Ringette Provincial Championships and my Dad, seeing me drowning, reminded me there was a school there and that we had met someone who graduated from Nursing during our time in Timmins. We talked about how they have a ringette team I could play for, plenty of trails I could run on, and we didn’t remember it being too small of a town. So I applied. I applied late and figured I had absolutely no chance of getting in.

And then, one day, it came. My first, and only acceptance letter. I remember sitting at the kitchen table sobbing and my mum dancing in celebration around me. For the first time in months, I felt like I had a plan. I felt like I had direction. I finally had hope.

In September of 2016, my mum, sister, and I drove 10 hours to Timmins. The minute we got there, I broke down. I didn’t think I would be able to do it. I screamed, cried, and begged my mum to take me home. I had just spent nearly a year feeling trapped and afraid and alone and now I was expected to be okay living completely on my own without anyone to help me. I thought I had made the biggest mistake of my life. Together my mum and I went into the school and met two ladies who soon would become two of my biggest role models and supporters - Johanne Carbonneau and Shawna Foy. And so, in good faith, my mum left me there. Spoiler alert: the age old saying rang true "mothers know best".

On the first day of school, I met the people who would soon become my best friends for the next four years, and for the rest of my life. I started feeling like I could really do something with myself. I felt like I had a purpose again. I now knew for certain that Nursing was exactly what I wanted to do with my life. My professors, classmates, and clinical instructors all knew my name. Suddenly, I felt like I had a supportive and loving family around me at all times. Slowly but surely, my grades went up, and I became involved. And by the end of my first year, I was finally happy.

I have now graduated. I am a Registered Nurse. I did it! When I look back on the past four years, it brings tears of joy to my eyes. I have grown so much. I have truly grown into the woman I always wanted to be. And I owe so much of that to the staff and students at Northern College. The bonds I created at Northern College are unlike any other and I will always cherish them.

Every time I walk into Northern College, without fail, I feel like the best version of myself. The smile on my face is always genuine when I am at Northern. I owe so much of who I am to this school. I am so grateful for all of the opportunities Northern College has given me. I am so proud to be a Northern College alumni.