Graduated in June 2018 and hired for a 3-month contract by organization in which she completed her placement
Christina Bernard’s goal was to get a better job to support herself and her son. She started with a visit to the Contact North | Contact Nord online learning centre in Mississauga First Nation, adjacent to Blind River where she lives. With the support of staff at the online learning centre, she enrolled in Northern College’s Social Service Worker program.
“Everything was a challenge for me at first,” admitted Christina. “I didn’t know anything about computers.” She was grateful to go to the online learning centre where she received help with computer use and connecting to her classes using Contact North | Contact Nord’s web conferencing platform.
As she became more familiar with using computers, she worked from her home computer. Her program was full-time with two or three online classes a day.
Christina shares how overwhelming it was as a mature student returning to school. “Many times I cried and felt I wanted to quit,” she says. “But the next day, I would get back at it.” Connecting with classmates on a group Facebook page was beneficial for her. She asked questions, shared notes and she discovered another student living in Blind River.
“I was not scared to ask questions,” she says about her interactions in class. “I was brave in front of the screen; not seeing others.” She did meet some of her classmates during a face-to-face lab held in Parry Sound, which enhanced her sense of belonging when they returned to classes online.
Despite her challenging start, Christina graduated in June 2018 with honours. She completed her placement in Blind River where she was hired on a 3-month contract after she graduated.