Excitement is defined as “a feeling of great enthusiasm and eagerness”. As someone who dropped out of high school, excitement filled my inner self in the weeks, days, hours, and minutes before I walked into my first class and orientation. The idea that I could finally do something great with my life was the driving force to take those first steps. The memory of that day will resound forever in my mind as a defining moment toward a new and better me.
My classmates were all so friendly and we all seemed to get along so well. Mental Health and Addictions is not usually something you just wake up one morning and decide you want to do. Whether it’s lived experience, or experience through a family member or friend, our class was all there for a reason. I was floored when I sat and listened to the stories of the other students speaking about their experience and why they wanted to get into the field.
Over the first two months of beginning the course, we started to run into some rocky grounds. In communications class we did a team building exercise which, in my observation, was the kick-start of what would be months of attempting to rebuild a happy and healthy group. As a result of this turmoil, and the subsequent effects it had on our class, a couple of individuals were dismissed for poor behaviour and attitude. It’s taken much struggle to this point to get where we are as a team today, and we are continuing to build a very happy and supportive cohort. We have studied countless hours as a group and are always talking with each other to help encourage each other to greatness.
The Instructors in the following months have been so supportive with myself and the other students. I feel a very real connection with the instructors and their desires to help us succeed. The knowledge and experience they bring to their teaching is incredible, admirable, and heart-felt, creating a learning experience which only drives me to do better. The administrative staff has been no different. There are great supports in place and everyone has been so friendly. The courses have been fun, clear and logically laid out. I’m beginning to realize only recently how methodical the planning of this course is, taking the pieces from each course and using them for future courses, making it so important that a class isn’t missed but also, making me feel like the previous class was not just something that just falls to the side when I’m done with it.
When I came to this course, my mind was so closed to the idea that I would only be working with addictions, so I was disappointed, to say the least, when my first Integrated Practice Experience (IPE – aka. practicum) was at a seniors drop-in centre. After a few days, that barrier in my mind was quickly knocked down. I had a lot of fun working with the different members that would access services and I even learned how to play Mahjong. It was an awesome three days and I am looking forward to going back in May.
The last 6 months have been amazing and I’ve done my best to remind myself daily why I’m here – to better my life and my recovery through education. The supports are in place for me to succeed and I choose to take advantage of them all when I can.
Lesson: You must never lose sight of your dreams in the face of adversity.
Quote: “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity” – Albert Einstein