This guest column is written through a partnership with the UAlberta Ambassador Program and The Gateway.
There is a phrase I like to use during campus tours: “At the University of Alberta, there is lots of learning you can do outside the classroom!” In particular, through the University of Alberta Ambassador Program, I have learned so much about friendship.
My story starts in 2006, when I first moved to Edmonton. I grew up seemingly right beside the U of A and the tall, colourful buildings had lost their charm. By the end of high school, I was determined to leave the city because as many Edmontonians know, wintertime translates to a certain doom… especially when trying not to slip and slide to catch your bus to school. However, I was not the only person graduating, and discussions with my friends and family made me realize that I wanted to spend more time with the people that I love.
In the month before I officially started school, I attended an event put on by the Office of the Registrar and I was nervous because I decided on a bilingual nursing degree but in all honesty, I felt as if the only French word I could remember after grade 12 was « baguette. »
Personally, I did not know anyone who worked in healthcare. To my rescue were two people who appeared to be superheroes — or literally rising suns — wearing yellow ambassador polos and bright smiles: two ambassadors who were in nursing! They sat with me and other first-year nursing students while sharing stories about how they loved their degrees. I connected with other students who I can sit beside during classes, making the large lecture theatres feel a lot less intimidating.
I joined the program expecting to meet like-minded people and become amazing friends with them. That is partially true, since I have found that ambassadors are like-minded in the best way, in valuing school pride, involvement, volunteerism and each other. Yet, each and every ambassador is so unique and it is inspiring to listen to their stories and experiences, so we aren’t completely like-minded.
The program has provided me with the best opportunities to “learn outside the classroom,” not only letting me see the U of A with new eyes, but by gathering passionate, thoughtful and dynamic people from across the university.
When you meet someone new who, like yourself, likes meeting new people, it’s bound to blossom into a friendship.
This guest column is written through a partnership with the UAlberta Ambassador Program and The Gateway. To learn more about the ISA or to get involved with them visit their website.