Nichole

Valedictorian

Cycle 34 Graduation
March 22, 2013

Struggle. What comes to mind when you hear that word?

Is it of someone trying their best to fight against a stronger person? When I hear the word struggle, I see a person being tied and anchored down in chains trying their best to get up and break free . . .

There are many types of struggle. The most common one, as an apprentice of Ignite Adult Learning, is to get up each morning and make it to class. So many obstacles and negativity cross your path once you’re doing something positive for yourself.

I am sure everyone can relate. Nothing goes the way you thought it would. You might start having problems at home with your partner because they aren’t very supportive of your decision to go back to school and further your education, to reach the goals and dreams you’ve had since you were a child.

I know that it wasn’t an easy task for my colleagues and me to get to where we are now. We all had our own type of struggle. Some of us went through break ups, some of us had to deal with death of a loved one, the Ministry of Social Services, addictions, our health, court and some of us had to deal with the symptoms of unexpected pregnancy.

There were also obstacles we had to deal with at school, like our academics. Some of us were frustrated with the assignments we were given to work on, like math, accounting, social studies, reading, writing and science. All of these were our everyday challenges. All of this was so stressful but we managed to make it!

Now I am going to tell MY story. When I was attending Ignite, it wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be. I had to deal with so much while being an apprentice.
1. My uncle had passed away and I felt like quitting school because I wanted to be there for my mom, my aunty Raylene and my brothers. I couldn’t concentrate on my school work. I didn’t feel like I was capable of going on with getting my education because all I wanted to do at the time was numb the pain by turning to alcohol.

2. I didn’t have support from my partner who attempted to sabotage my plans at the time which led to a nasty separation.

3. I moved in with my mother and it wasn’t safe for my son and me because she had suffered a home invasion.

4. I ended up living in a women’s shelter with my son while attending school. As an adult with a child, living by someone else’s rules was stressful. I had a curfew of 8:00 p.m. on weekdays which didn’t really give me much time after I got off work.

5. Not only was I homeless with my son living in a women’s shelter, I also had to deal with the stress Social Services was putting me through and eventually got cut off of assistance. I was told I was making enough to survive with the $750.00 per month I was receiving from Ignite.

All the obstacles I had to deal with were crazy. There were times when I was weak, and vulnerable to just giving up and quitting, but I knew I couldn’t because it just wasn’t about me anymore. All the negative thoughts about dropping out and going back another time stopped because my son is important to me and giving him a better and brighter future is what I want for him.

Now that I am graduating, when I look at myself, I feel like I can be someone you can rely on. I feel like a mature, respectful and responsible woman. Back when I first started my education with Ignite, I know for a fact I wasn’t someone you could rely on for anything. I was immature, irresponsible and selfish.

I know some of my colleagues can relate but I am only speaking for myself when it comes to this. If it weren’t for Thought Patterns, Toastmasters and Smart Recovery . . . I wouldn’t be up here talking to you. I definitely would have turned to drinking when I felt vulnerable and I wouldn’t be the woman that I am now.

Through the wire, to the limit, to the wall.
This was my struggle and I have never felt so happy with the outcome of it all. I have a job with SaskTel, my own home and my education. Through my struggles I got to meet and keep a lot of great, respectful and wonderful people in my life!

Please keep this in mind—“Behind every success, there was once someone who struggled and fought to get to where they are at now.” I know this because I was once there.

Thank you Ignite Investors and have a great evening!

 

 

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