Humans of Nipissing U- Sarah McGowan

WHAM Blog

Humans of Nipissing U- Sarah McGowan

What is something you’ve learned about yourself in the past year?

“I would have to say probably self-care is more important than I thought, and to take the advice that you give to others. I think that that’s really important because it’s one thing to tell people to look after themselves and be there for them, but when you’re by yourself at the end of the day and you’re stressed out to the max, you kind of go “I need to kind of take that” like my own advice sort of thing, and I think that’s important. Sort of realize that the way that society has constructed these expectations for post-secondary education students, I think it places a lot of stress and anxiety on students and I think it really harms their creativity and harms like where they would be or go in life… and I’m not saying university is bad at all but it just… I can definitely see where students have a lot more put on them than maybe like 20 years ago. And so I think it’s important to kind of take a step back and see like what you want, because at the end of the day, it’s you working at a job or you running after a career and not your parents or a significant other or something. So I think that’s probably important. And I’ve learned a lot… for myself, I’ve learned a lot from other people’s mistakes this year, but I’ve also learned a tremendous amount from my own mistakes and I think it’s important to kind of go back and look at it and say like “What did I get from this?” instead of just saying “I regret it”. I think that it’s good to go through bad experiences because it makes you grow as a person. I think that’s what I’ve learned this year. That and how to self-care.”

Sarah McGowan

Photo by ©Isaac Bender

This interview was conducted for the Humans of Nipissing University page. Please go to https://www.facebook.com/HumansofNipissingU/ to see other people share their stories.

Hearing & Listening: Mental Health First Aid

Mental Health First Aid for Adults who Interact with Youth

From Saturday, March 18 to Sunday, March 19, 2017, I attended the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) for Adults who Interact with Youth program. The venue was in Nipissing University and it took two full days to complete it. I had heard about the program from the Record of Student Development (RSD) website, and Student Counselling Services. I attended the program because I wanted to learn more about how to talk to individuals who were developing a mental illness or are experiencing a mental health crisis.

On the first day, our instructor, Sarah Cantin, asked us to introduce ourselves to the group. She also gave each of us a copy of the MHFA for Adults who Interact with Youth book. We covered topics such as mood disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, psychosis, and more. For each topic, we analyzed a specific piece of artwork. Some were abstract, and some were straightforward. It was interesting to listen to everyone’s interpretation of the piece. After our input, Sarah read to us the artist’s description of the work. The art pieces and their relation to each mental illness was one of the things that I liked about how the program was instructed.

Throughout the two days, there were plenty of activities that kept us active and engaged. It also helped us to remember important information such as the acronym ‘ALGEE.’  I wanted to talk about the activities that we participated in:

  • Phobias – One of the activities we engaged in was for the phobia section of the course. Sarah placed slips of green paper around the room. The green paper had a phobia written on it. Beside this was a blank piece of paper in which we wrote down our guesses. Some of the guesses were quite funny and bizarre.
  • Communicator and receiver – Another activity emphasized the importance of truly listening to people we communicate with. The group broke off into partners. One person was the communicator and the other was the receiver, or the listener. Our backs faced each other throughout the activity. The communicator was given a piece of paper that had a drawing on it. The communicator was then asked to describe the image, but here’s the catch: The communicator was not allowed to say the actual object’s name (i.e., table, chair, hat) or call out the shapes that were in the image (i.e., circle, square, triangle). So, the communicator had to be really creative with how they were going to present and communicate the image. Meanwhile, the receiver was asked to remain quiet. They were not allowed to give any indications of whether or not they understood the communicator’s instructions.
  • Case Study –Sarah gave us all a case study scenario and we had to partner up with somebody to act out the scene. We role played multiple scenes that were intended for certain topics in the course. One person would be an individual with a mental illness, while the other person provided mental health first aid. This activity was quite challenging for me. There is a difference between talking and listening to your friend and talking and listening to somebody you might not know and are providing mental health first aid to. When talking to a friend, I find myself guilty for interrupting them because I might have experienced a similar event that they were talking about, or I interrupt them because I want to give them my opinion on something. However, when providing mental health first aid to somebody, you have to listen attentively with no judgment, reassure them, and provide them with information regarding appropriate professional help.

Overall, the Mental Health First Aid for Adults who Interact with Youth workshop taught me many lessons. The lesson that was the most important to me is that listening is not an easy thing to do. It isn’t easy to give people our full attention because our mind begins to wander to other topics. This is what usually happens to me, which is partially the reason for when I interrupt others when they are speaking. So, I want to become a better listener and interrupt less when I am having a conversation with somebody. There is a difference between hearing what a person is saying and listening to what a person is saying.

I recommend this workshop to everyone. Thank you, Sarah Cantin, for being a wonderful instructor!

Mikee Layaoen is a fourth year student in the Psychology program minoring in Human Resources.

 

 

 

 

Humans of Nipissing U- Ben Bao

What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone?

“Don’t believe in whatever I say. Because whatever I say is from my opinion, my perspective, concluded from my experience and it is not representative of any kind of your experience, of your mind. That’s probably one thing I realized coming here. I realized how different people can be and there’s no point in me trying to inflict or impose my opinions on other people so that they are the same with mine, because we are never going to be the same. Never. Right? If somebody invented some crazy mind infecting virus, you can probably make everyone the same. Now I’m just getting too sci-fi here. Don’t believe what people say to you and try to kind of think independently. And don’t even believe in THAT! [laughs]”

Ben Bao

Photo by ©Isaac Bender

This interview was conducted for the Humans of Nipissing University page. Please go to https://www.facebook.com/HumansofNipissingU/ to see other people share their stories.

NUSU Office Assistant Wanted

NUSU is looking for a full-time Office Assistant from May-September.

Please send in your cover letter and résumé into [email protected] or drop it off at the NUSU Office (F205).

See job description and details here:
NUSU Office Assistant Position

Humans Of Nipissing U- Emily Brown

“What generally makes me happy? Uhm kind of just hanging out with friends. Like I don’t feel the need that like we have to talk all the time, like we can just sit in comfortable silence and like… That really, really works. That makes me happy. Yeah! Seriously like the little things like the book store… little things like that.”

Emily Brown

Photo by ©Isaac Bender

This interview was conducted for the Humans of Nipissing University page. Please go to https://www.facebook.com/HumansofNipissingU/ to see other people share their stories.

Where did you learn the most about yourself?

While I was putting dry dishes away, this question came into my mind. I was thinking about the skills I’ve learned in my previous jobs and thought about where I discovered new things about myself the most. My first answer was here, at a university far from home. But it wasn’t necessarily the distance between here and home that made me more independent. It was the belief and goal that I had to create to discover myself, for this chapter of my life is crucial to establishing who I wanted to become.

And though at times I may still be distant to who I want to be and what I want to do, my thoughts always circle around to the pronounced difference of who I was in high school in comparison to who I am now. I have told myself this before, and I will continue to do so for a long time:

I have grown. I have grown in ways I never knew I would. University has given me a reason to go beyond my boundaries and say goodbye to the limitations I set for myself. And I want to continue to reflect about myself. I’ve acknowledged I’ve changed into a person I never thought I could be – a good change; those around me can see it too. And that’s what I strive for every day. To become a better person and to constantly look for inspiration around me to guide myself towards that direction.

I do not want to find comfort in this knowledge I have of myself that I have matured tremendously. For accepting this observation of myself means rejecting my potential. I have yet to find my own potential, and what sets me apart from others. And the only way to do so is to try and do something beyond what I believe I can achieve.

I may not succeed, but for me, there is an abundant amount of joy that accompanies the action of trying.

So thank you, university, for being a place of discoveries. Though I will give my farewell to you soon, I will never forget the beloved people I have met, whom you’ve taken care of under your roof.

And thank you to myself, for your constant reminder of the strive towards improvement and growth.

Mikee Layaoen is a fourth year student in the Psychology program minoring in Human Resources.

Humans of Nipissing U- Adele Orr

“Oh, I’m a hard core fan [of Harry Potter]. Absolutely. [My favourite was] uh, number six. Yeah number six. Unpopular opinion but I think number six was the best one [of the series]. I don’t know, there’s just something about it! It’s got… In my opinion it’s got the most action. People will fight that, but uh, it’s, I don’t know I just really like the book! A lot happens. A lot is revealed in that book. There’s a lot of mystery in that one, a lot of weirdness. Things that you didn’t expect to happen then all of a sudden… You see kind of a darker side to some good characters that you’ve been taught to, not worship but like adore. And then you see a lighter side to some dark characters… It’s my favourite in the series.”

Adele Orr


Photo by ©Isaac Bender

This interview was conducted for the Humans of Nipissing University page. Please go to https://www.facebook.com/HumansofNipissingU/ to see other people share their stories.

Humans of NipissingU- Sayyadah Merali

“There’s one thing I learned last month. I try to make every month a lesson, you know like January, February, March… So last month I learned that don’t expect anything from anyone. If you give someone something, do it with all your heart. For example, I gave someone a gift and the person didn’t say thank you to me. So I told my fiancé that this person didn’t say thank you to me. And he was like, “If you give a person a gift, do it with all your heart. You don’t need to expect to get a thank you from them.” And I was like, that is so true. We often do things and expect them to say something back. Or [for example] if you hold the door for someone, you expect them to say thank you, but if you do it with all your heart, you just wouldn’t care if they said thank you or not. Do it with all your heart as long as it makes you happy, right? So I thought that was an important lesson to learn. Whenever you do something for someone, you always expect them to say something nice or [receive] something in return. It’s not business, it’s kindness.”

Sayyadah Merali

Photo by ©Isaac Bender

This interview was conducted for the Humans of Nipissing University page. Please go to https://www.facebook.com/HumansofNipissingU/ to see other people share their stories.

Humans of Nipissing U- Claire & Meghan

“I have two pet ducks. They don’t run away, we have a little pet-duck house for them. Their names are Peter and Susan.”

“It’s weird I want to get into paediatrics because I do not like children. It’s like I don’t want children, but I love taking care of them. But I do not like babysitting, does that make sense? Like I love caring for the little ones but not in a babysitting sense.”

Claire Rocher and Meghan Brackenridge

Photo by ©Isaac Bender

This interview was conducted for the Humans of Nipissing University page. Please go to https://www.facebook.com/HumansofNipissingU/ to see other people share their stories.

 

Humans of Nipissing U- James

“Namibia [is my favourite country]. I was there to help them get their independence when they broke away from South Africa, so they wanted to have elections. They’ve never had elections before. So, free and fair elections. They set up their government in the same style like the British or Canada’s type of government, where they have a Parliamentary system and oppositions and everything – [they] never had [that] before. You had to go out and collect these people from the middle of nowhere, from way up at the Etosha Pan, the north end of the country or in the southern end of the country. Go to the remote areas and bringing them in so they can literally – they didn’t even have to sign their name – give them a fingerprint or something or say their name, just so they could vote. But, yeah for sure, that country has so much going for it when it comes to prosperity and stuff in the future. If you look it up, I mean they have a desert, they have beaches, they have gold mines, they have diamond mines. They have all these things in this country. It’s such a nation that has been there forever, but used to be called Southwest Africa and they were owned by South Africa. When they broke away, they became their own country. They’re 26 or 27 years old now, you know. 1989. They’re in their infancy when it comes to that. So if you were there to watch the development or the start up or be a part of that, I think that, what else can you ask for, you know what I mean? To be a part of a country that is just starting out. That was the good part of it. And the people are super kind, they’re like so nice. Really good country. I like it.”

James
Photo by ©Isaac Bender

This interview was conducted for the Humans of Nipissing University page. Please go to https://www.facebook.com/HumansofNipissingU/ to see other people share their stories.

 

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