Portrait: Deborah Saucier
I love the first day of school so much that I’ve never really left. I think I must be in about Grade 45 by now.
The first time I ever walked onto a university campus, the familiar excitement of the first day of school was there, but so was the feeling of being completely overwhelmed. I couldn’t figure out where my classes were. My smallest class had 400 students. I spent the whole semester feeling like I wasn’t really getting it. The culture shock was just too much for me.
After my first year, I transferred to a smaller university with smaller classes, and that really made a big difference. It felt more like home—like MacEwan is beginning to feel for me—and that helped me thrive.
People always say that the school year is a marathon, but the first few months are more like a sprint. There’s so much hope and potential—everything is in front of us and it’s so very busy. That makes it exciting—and terrifying. I remember worrying that maybe I wasn’t quite as smart as people thought I was. I remember wondering how a book could possibly cost $200.
The best advice I can give is even when you’re sprinting, take a moment to breathe. But that can be hard to do when things go wrong, as they almost certainly will at some point.
Making mistakes—sometimes big ones—doing everything you can to fix them, learning from them and moving on is a part of the university experience we don’t talk about that often. And unfortunately, it’s something that we’re doing as a university right now. I’m sure you’ve heard about the email fraud investigation that was reported last week, and I understand that you may be concerned about how it impacts you. I want to assure you that what happened will not affect your experience at MacEwan—that the investment you’ve made and are making in your education here is safe.
Your safety—in every sense—is incredibly important to us. It truly is. So, if you ever feel like things are just getting to be too much, please don’t feel like you need to get through it on your own. There are so many dedicated faculty members, staff and students here who want to see you succeed.
—Deborah Saucier, President
Read more about the roller coaster ride that is the first year of university.