Info Sessions From the Other Side

Darren Mental Health and Addictions 0 Comments

On Thursday February 5, 2015 I was fortunate enough to be asked to help out at an Information Session held by Stenberg College that supplied future students an eyehole into the remarkable course that is Community Mental Health and Addictions Worker. I actually went to the Info Session that was held for my current cohort a month or so before classes started. I had a bit of an epiphany on my bus ride to the Info Session then, I will admit I was excited to go and the funny thing is I was just as excited to go and help out at the one held on February 5. The Session itself was even more rewarding this time around for me as I was looking at the scene from the opposite side of the fence. I got to see how I probably looked then and how most of the people at the Session looked now. Excited, a sense of awe, and an absolute sureness that this was the right road to take for me. Honestly there have been nothing but positive signs all throughout my 9 or 10 month adventure so far. I have met some amazing people and it would appear that the next cohort that follows us is stocked with some more amazing people which has to be invigorating for the staff of Stenberg College. So many fresh faces with such a willingness to ask questions and learn. How do you not be excited? I would want to teach these people as well.

Two instructors that have both been a part of me mapping out a new future (I know that sounds a bit intimidating) and made me realize how much I am capable of spoke at the Info Session. I enjoyed Erin and Ferzana as much as I enjoyed them in class (I may have understood them a bit better now though) they both have a way of keeping students focussed and interested which again assured me of the decisions I have made in the past 10 months. Erin is very personable and team oriented and truly makes learning fun. She makes you want to go to class which is a bonus for any teacher. Ferzana has a personality all her own and has the same ability to keep students focussed but the one most common denominator with all of our instructors is they care, they care how you are feeling and how the courses are affecting their students. It is amazing because they teach empathy with an enormous amount of stock to give. Being students of theirs makes me feel fortunate for sure and I would not change the experience for the world.

Another exciting moment for me was meeting a former student by the name of Troy Balderson. Troy basically put his life back together with the help of the CMHAW program at Stenberg. I have wanted to meet Troy since I saw his story on Stenberg’s webpage. He had a long and trying battle with his own demons but he did persevere and now he has a rewarding career and solid foundation for his life. It is an amazing story and I suggest looking at it yourselves. “I Changed Me” is the idea we are following here, I just had to meet Troy and tell him “He Changed Me” too. Inspiration for things come to us in many ways and I will bet when Troy started his journey he didn’t have any idea how many people he might affect. Again an amazing story and an amazing man. Thank you Troy whether you know what you did for me or not just thank you.

One of the things I love about Stenberg is they show you people who have such positive effects on the people around them but it is not difficult to meet these people at all. I had four people I have wanted to meet since starting my classes and learning about them. Troy, Dean Wilson, Bud Olsen and Dr. Gabor Mate. I have met Troy and Dean but Bud Olsen won’t be met until my days on earth have wound down, as he is no longer with us, and Dr. Mate will just take a wee bit of patience on my part as he will be coming to speak in Vancouver very soon. Like a kid waiting for Christmas I am not sure I know what patience is. I would like to suggest to you some excellent required reading for the classes you may be taking in the near future nudge, nudge, poke, poke. One book is called “Raise Shit” written, in part, by Bud Olsen. If you thought your eyes were open read this book, they can open wider. Some more excellent reading “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts” by Dr. Mate. Which deals with idea of addiction and what the causes of addiction may be as well as “Scattered Minds” a book I got for Christmas. Yes, I asked for a Gabor Mate book about Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) for Christmas that should tell you how interesting it is. Using up valuable Christmas gift space for what could be looked at as a textbook. Far from it, in my opinion.

So now I can get back to the topic which was an information session held by Stenberg College. I had the most fun interacting and engaging in conversation with many excited people that are looking forward to classes starting as a number of people had already signed up for the course prior to the session. I would be interested to know how many people signed up after. It was an excellent vibe in the room and the emcee really showed his passion for the course as he tells you about it and it is hard not to feed off that passion. He has so much care about this program it makes you care too, it is impossible not to. Ultimately if you are looking for a change of career, change of job or just plain change these info sessions can help you decide if this program is right for you, It’s not a sales pitch as I mentioned a lot of people were already signed up for the course it is just a 2 hour session with snacks, coffee, Tim Horton’s gift cards and a whole lot of information that is valuable whether you take the course or not. So really what have you got to lose other than a solid career, a chance to meet some special people, snacks and gift cards? I went and I love where I am now but I love where I am going to be even more. Til next time faithful readers don’t let life overwhelm you with challenges, it is the way we overcome those challenges that make us the people we are today.

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