Fun and Fitness: Thinking ahead

This year's Open House event was another hectic and successful outing. Future first-year students came in droves for tours and information about Fanshawe and the city, and for tips on how to graduate their programs successfully. What made this Open House specifically different for me is that I had a few parents approach me who knew my name and had some very specific questions regarding my pathway.

A lot of the parents' questions were regarding how I got from Point A to Point B, which ran over the span of a decade or so. While trying to do my best to give them as much detail as possible so that their kids coming to Fanshawe could be better prepared, I realized how funny it can be to take such a long, retrospective look at yourself. There was a lot of “Don't do this!” and “Make sure you do this!” or the ever so popular “If I could go back and do it again, I would do this!”

One of the recurring themes that came up was professional development. These opportunities often present themselves within every program, and the opportunities grow tenfold for those entering a fitness- or health-related program. Pre-Health Science, Fitness and Health Promotion, Dental Hygiene and Nursing are just a few of the programs that have all sorts of workshops and clinics to help students and employees in these fields.

It's important to do research and see what is available for you beyond the program or area you work in. Many occupations encourage and actually pay out a specific annual amount for their employees to take on professional development courses and opportunities. However, many people aren't even aware of this, even though it's right under their noses. What's even funnier is that many people also pay good money out of their own pocket to upgrade their resume in this fashion without even realizing their employers will reimburse them for it! The point is it's one thing to graduate a program or get hired into your area of professional choice, but it is another thing to really separate yourself from your fellow graduates or get yourself promoted within your profession. Taking on these extra opportunities to better yourself and your resume is one of the best ways of making this happen.

On a lighter note, some of the parents and students at our Open House event had asked me about OSAP and bursary processes and opportunities. When I looked back, I realized that not a single dollar was saved during all of my days at Fanshawe. Near the end of those student days, a fellow student came in class and told me he just received a cheque for $2,000 from some bursary that he applied for. I was in complete and utter shock since this guy was the biggest idiot in class and was also the biggest underachiever by choice. I knew the bursary wasn't awarded to him because of his academic achievements, and instantly figured out that there is money out there waiting to be given to students that is not being competed for. As students, many of us are so lazy we won't even fill out a form to test out our luck.

When I went to university a few years after that, I applied for any and every bursary and grant they had to offer. After all, I knew I stood a better shot than the idiot classmate who scored $2,000 right? My classmates laughed at me because I was constantly filling out these application forms and writing letters. But hey, what's a few minutes of my time here and there? When all was said and done, over the span of my twoyear degree program, I had $187 to spare. I had made thousands of dollars in bursaries that it got to the point where the university was basically paying me to go there. I'm sure my classmates stopped laughing and did what I did during their Master's year of education.

I think you know what I am going to say next: Apply for those bursaries available to you! Some student has to be awarded each one, but it will never be you if you aren't willing to take that five minutes to find out!