by Cheryl Lunding (written in winter 2011)
When it comes to reasons for attending the Swan River Adult Education centre, mine is a bit of an unusual one. In the beginning, I went to them not for educational purposes, but for medical rehabilitation.
In recent years, I have been faced with some medical issues which complicate matters, to say the least. No complaints, many have it worse. I just needed a way to retrain my brain to be able to handle sensory overload, concentration concerns spatial and balance issues as well as a way to interact with the public on my kind of manageable level.
In the fall of 2009, I was in dire need of a personal challenge, something to focus my mind on in the hopes of improving my overall health. Most people do not sign up for computer courses or high school credit courses in order to improve their health, well, they're not me.
My years of working at the local newspaper had given me a lot of experience using computers, but I have had no formal training to document on my resume. After spending some time discussing my needs and the available options with the SRAE staff, I decided to start with the Microsoft Office Certificate courses.
Due to sensory overload issues, I worked in a small, darkened office, ear plugs in and sunglasses on, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the other hard-working students. Staff and students alike accepted me just as I was; the staff was very sensitive to my needs and offered any assistance necessary to help me meet my goals and made me feel productive, part of the real world once again. Slowly, I was able to remove the ear plugs, then the sunglasses and eventually rejoin the world in the main education work area. It was like being reborn and becoming a part of the whole.
As I finished my MS courses, I gained a sense of self-worth, a belief that I could achieve anything, even if I did need more time than someone else, a little extra patience. The work was worth doing because the prize at the end, me feeling better about myself, me feeling better physically, mentally and emotionally, was well worth the effort.
I love going in to the school, seeing other students striving to meet their own personal goals. Watching them encourages me to push myself harder, to set higher goals for myself. The students are welcoming and friendly, smart and funny, focused and goal-oriented. It's great to see and be a part of.
I have continued with my studies at the centre, upgrading some of my high school courses, taking others to meet university entrance requirements. Despite everything I have been through, and still deal with, I have an aspiration to become a Licensed Practical Nurse, and the Swan River Adult Education Centre is helping me accomplish this goal. To all the staff and students at the Swan River Adult Education Centre, thank you for your acceptance, help and comradeship, I am greatly enjoying my experiences with you.
To all those out there thinking about finishing high school, upgrading your old skills or learning new ones, I recommend you come see what the Swan River Adult Education Centre can do for you. You won't regret it.
* update note by administrator- Cheryl is just completing her first year of two in the Licensed Practical Nurse Course. Way to go Cheryl!