Student Spotlight: Ashley Fordyce
November 12, 2020
‘Terrifying’, that’s how I would describe going back to school at 33. I always hated school. I’ve completed my health unit clerk course and also my medical assisting course because all I had to do was an entrance exam. I didn’t need to have a grade 12 certificate. But last year, I decided I wanted to shift my career and not having the grade 12 certificate was holding me back.
In the back of my mind, I always wanted to go into nursing, so with the support of my partner Collin, I decided to get my grade 12 diploma through Assiniboine’s Mature Student High School.
It started off with orientation in January this year, and I was terrified. But, once I got into classes it was ok, and I had the same instructor, Fernando, for all of my courses for the first term. I can’t say enough about him, he’s amazing. He made me realise that I wasn’t stupid, that I could do this. He really helped me with my confidence and for the first time in my life, I enjoyed school. The staff made all the difference, my fear and hatred of school had completely changed. When someone is willing to sit with you when you don’t understand something and go over it until it clicks in your mind, I’ve never had that before. I was honestly devastated when in late March we shifted to online learning because of the pandemic, as going to school was something I enjoyed so much. I was really proud of my grades at the end of the first term.
Since then, I’ve had a bit of a setback as my partner of 15 years, Collin, unexpectedly passed away this summer. I’m taking only two credits at the moment and would have liked to be taking more courses so I could have graduated sooner and be on the waiting list for Assiniboine’s Practical Nursing program. That’s been hard to accept but on the other hand, I had to realise that I can’t do everything, and I don’t want to burn myself out. After this semester, I will need three more credits and then I will be done.
Since Collin passed away, I was worried that my focus wouldn’t be there, and I wouldn’t be able to concentrate or that I wouldn’t enjoy learning as much. It’s definitely still tough, even though I’m taking less courses, because I’m at home and here by myself. But I know Collin would want me to keep going. He always said what a good nurse I would make, so I have that in the back of my mind and that keeps me going.