Starting at Stenberg

Alana Latham Mental Health and Addictions 0 Comments

What an amazing couple of weeks the start of the Community Mental Health and Addictions program has been!

The first days of school were fascinating as our cohort began getting to know each other. The class had a few ice-breaker exercises in the schedule, including one where someone would interview the other person then introduce them to the rest of the class.

The first week was an orientation with a review of self care strategies in preparation for the transition to full-time studies. We had the opportunity of having Steve Paras as the instructor of our first class. Steve is an educator who has the great skill of capturing the ears of the students he is speaking to. Not only did he create an engaging class, but also a class that was fun to participate in. Lessons on effective time management, scheduling, how to study the best way for my learning style and team building exercises were among the many helpful skills presented.

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Much of the course work was on building self awareness. I was able to identify both some of my strengths and areas that could use further work. I believe these teachings are essential to living a healthy balanced life and should be part of everyone’s educational experience. If only these simple strategies were taught throughout everyone’s education- I know I could have used them when I was younger!

After the orientation course finished we continued right through the weekend with our First Aid certifications and began Monday with Computer Fundamentals and Applications.

The group really started getting to know each other the second week as the more technical work began.

Our class is made up of several individuals with a variety of personality styles and a wide range of life experiences; a group of generous, caring people who are definitely going into the right field.

Students are supportive; looking out for each other and teaching each other as we move along. There is already quite a connection within our group. One of my favorite moments was how excited my classmates and myself were when we received all of our textbooks for the program.

We then had Lori Dowhaniuk as our instructor for Computer Fundamentals and Applications, an educator who is positive, hands-on and caring. Lori took the time to thoughtfully answer the questions from the students. There is no doubt in my mind that these instructors genuinely care about the outcome of the students and the education that they receive.

It has taken time for me to adjust to this busy schedule. Things are moving forward quickly and we have learned a lot in these two weeks.

I have had moments of anxiety, excitement, joy and a range of feelings in between. I have also had moments of certainty; I am very sure that the Community Mental Health and Addictions Worker Program is the right program for me.

I am looking forward to starting another class on Monday and cannot wait to see what the next year and a half holds for me and my classmates.

About the Author

Alana Latham

Alana Latham is a student in Stenberg's CMHAW program. The recipient of the inaugural Karen O'Shannacery scholarship, Alana volunteers at a residential substance abuse treatment centre and co-founded a women's support group.

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