Feeling too mature to return to high school but knowing she needed to complete her Grade 12, Jennifer, a member of the Cote First Nation, chose to attend Adult Basic Education at the Hudson Bay campus of Cumberland College. It was a good move for Jennifer as she was able to complete her Grade 12 diploma in 2002 before moving onto post-secondary education. Since leaving the College, Jennifer has completed her Bachelor of Education degree with Distinction (for having a Grade Point Average above 80). Now working as a substitute teacher in Saskatoon and a mother of 2 wonderful boys, Jennifer is continuing her education. She is very close to finishing her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and is also completing prerequisite classes for entering the Masters of Education program in School Counselling. Jennifer who is interested in doing research in her future, intends to never quit learning.
Education wasn’t always easy for Jennifer. Beginning in the ABE program, physically getting to school was problematic for her. She lived out of town without a license during her first semester of the program and had to rely on rides from others. Then, during her first attempt at post-secondary education, she was living far from home and family and experiencing a difficult pregnancy with a great deal of morning sickness. The result was that Jennifer ended up with low marks, failing classes and finally quitting. She didn’t give up though, as she took a few years off to focus on being a mother, and eventually returned to the University of Saskatchewan to earn her education degree. Jenni wants to encourage others to not give up regardless of what difficulties in life cause detours in your path. For her, getting her education has definitely been worth it!
Jennifer has many positive memories of her time at Cumberland College. She loved attending classes there as she was able to get to know the staff members and the other students. She appreciated the morning smiles and greetings from the administration staff as well as the encouragement and support of the instructors and advisor. Halloween and Christmas gatherings were particularly fun in this close-knit community. Everyone also clearly remembers the day Jenni brought her pet snake to school! To this day, Jennifer continues to maintain contact with other people from the ABE program.
Being a post-secondary student during COVID-19 has brought with it many challenges for Jenni. Coping with post-partum depression and grief, online learning, and a 3 year-old child with high needs has impacted her learning. But in true Jennifer fashion, she has not given up. Instead, she has developed a number of strategies to help her during the pandemic, including keeping a lockdown journal together with her oldest son, having regular phone sessions with a therapist, staying physically active, maintaining close connections online with family and friends, and volunteering as a virtual visitor with seniors in care homes. Jennifer has also completed the training to become a volunteer crisis counselor for Crisis Textline and will begin volunteering with them when she is finished her current classes. It is amazing to see such resiliency in difficult times.
Congratulations Jennifer and best of luck as you continue on your learning path. Thank you for choosing Cumberland College as the first step.
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