Sarah McNeil, Community Support Worker – Social Services

What were you doing before attending Sprott Shaw College?

Before I attended Sprott Shaw College I was working a dead-end job. I am the mother of a 3-year-old little girl. I found myself struggling with where I was in life, I knew that I wanted to do better than where I currently was. I decided that it was finally to make the change for not only myself but for my daughter. The initial meeting that I had at Sprott Shaw was absolutely uplifting. My advisor was there to assist with all of my questions and concerns that I had about starting school. I never knew what I wanted to be in my adult life; I had no career path in mind. I reflected a little bit on how my life played out and I decided to do my research about working as a Community Support Worker. I grew up in the system so I had a strong understanding of how my social worker was supposed to help me. I thought to myself that being a Community Support Worker would be my way of giving back to the community.

Why did you choose Sprott Shaw College?

There are a few reasons that I decided to choose Sprott Shaw College, I suffer from Anxiety Disorder and the small classes were very appealing to me. I found going and researching other schools that were available in my area made my Anxiety worse. I love that everyone is so welcoming at Sprott Shaw, all of the staff are dedicated to helping their students to succeed. I found their hours to be extremely reasonable, I love that classes are only 4-5 hours at a time and not a full day. Class being only a few hours a day makes it easier to balance life as a wife and a mother,

How was the admissions process?

The admission process was EXTREMELY easy, I went called the school and I set up a meeting with an advisor. The advisor that I was assigned to was very outgoing and excited to assist me in my journey throughout school. I told her all that I needed to get done to be able to start my program, she was very thorough when assisting me through the application process for my student loan. I had to do a quick math assessment that I was allowed to use a calculator on, I also had to do an English essay. Coming from someone who has been clinically diagnosed with severe Anxiety, saying that it was the least stressful thing is an understatement. I felt so confident going in to start my schooling journey.

What program did you choose and why?

I originally went in thinking that I wanted to become an LPN, my mind changed due to some issues that I was having with passing math. I then spoke with my advisor again and told her that I needed to go with my plan B. I am so grateful that I chose my plan B going with being a Community Support Worker student. The reason I am so grateful for this backup plan is because it actually will benefit myself and my daughter in the long run because I won’t be working crazy hours being a nurse. I will be able to work an 8:30 am-5:00 pm job if I want. I also chose this program because I feel I am going to be able to assist everyone that I work within the community. Being able to advocate for someone who might not be able to advocate for themselves is very rewarding.

What was the environment like during your time at Sprott Shaw College?

The environment at the Abbotsford Sprott Shaw campus is fantastic. All of the students are very friendly, there aren’t “clicky” people. All of the staff members at Sprott Shaw know most of the students’ names, the instructors are very welcoming and are there to help you complete your work and they are very understanding. My instructor has been great, she allows us time to debrief about our weekends, the nights we had before an assessment and she just cares in general about our well being.

If you could give advice to someone coming to Sprott Shaw, what would you say?

If someone new was interested in becoming a student at Sprott Shaw College, I would encourage them to take the leap. I would tell them my amazing experience, and I would also let them know that the instructors and staff are super amazing.

Sarah McNeil
Community Support Worker – Social Services Program
Abbotsford Campu

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