Tell us a bit about yourself.
My parents came to Christ when I was four, so I attended church my whole life. In 2015, our family moved from Ontario to PEI, and I struggled with a lot of that move. I ended up walking away from the church for about three years, but God had plans for me, and Kingswood ended up being a big part of that.
What drew you to Kingswood?
I was planning to be a forensic anthropologist and was accepted to several universities for Fall 2020. A friend was attending Kingswood, and I was looking on the website. I thought I was filling out an information request form but accidentally filled out an application form. Zach Painter, my enrolment counsellor, called and asked if I would like to finish my application, and I told him I wasn’t interested. A bit later, I was at a youth rally on the Island, and I knew God was calling me to go to Kingswood. I didn’t want to work in a church or do missions, and I wasn’t really following God, but I knew beyond a doubt it was Him telling me to come here. Zach was at that same rally, and before the weekend was over, he helped me complete my application and take the next step.
A few weeks into my first semester I rededicated my life to God, but still wasn’t sure why I was at KU. I remember thinking, “What am I doing?” But by the end of the first year, I knew I was here for the Christian Counselling program, and it all made sense.
It sounds like your parents were supportive of you attending university.
My parents wanted me to have some form of post-secondary education to make sure I would have good job prospects. It didn’t have to be university, but I needed to do something. They were very happy when I decided on Kingswood because they knew a Bible College would be good for me, and they were right.
Adjusting to university life can bring some surprising challenges. What were some you’ve encountered?
To start with, what to expect was a bit intimidating. I reached out to a few people who had been to KU to ask questions and get some tips. The orientation at the start of the semester was very helpful in understanding what I could expect and what was expected of me.
Another big one was that my parents couldn’t help me with anything I was doing in my courses, like writing a paper or completing assignments. As soon as I left home, I was on my own. I’d tell them about my assignments, and they’d be interested, but they couldn’t help me figure out how to write a 10-page. I used the Student Success Centre as support and a lot of the other students in my classes were helpful.
I was also surprised at how easy it was to disconnect from my family while living here. Life is busy, and I’m surrounded by people who are sharing it with me. There is a lot less accountability to keep in touch with my parents. When I go home, I forget that I need to fill them in on what has been happening in my life the past couple of months. They aren’t as involved as they used to be in my day to day, which has been harder on them.
What advice would you have for other first-generation students who might be considering attending Kingswood?
For someone resistant to coming to KU, just do it. God broke me in such a way that it blessed me ten-fold down the road. It would have been such a shame if I hadn’t gone just because of my stubbornness.
Also, don’t be ashamed to ask for help. I spent four years learning about math and science in high school, preparing for forensic anthropology, but others spent four years preparing for ministry and the classes we’re taking here. I felt like I was behind many of my peers and needed to do some catch up. Take advantage of the opportunities on campus to get up to speed. It’s okay if this is the first time that you’re hearing about some of the concepts being taught in class. That was me, and I found the help I needed.
What are your plans for the future?
My current plans are to finish the 4-year degree in Christian Counselling and then earn a Master’s in Clinical Psychology. My goal is to become a correctional counsellor for women and juveniles.
That is quite a departure from Forensic Anthropology. Was that a hard adjustment to make?
Not at all. God made it clear He still wants me to work in criminal justice, but He wants me to work with the living, not the dead.