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.
We thank James for sharing his story.
– Humans of Nipissing University team
Where are you from?
My name is James Shecapio, and I am First Nations Cree from Waswanipi, QC. Northern Quebec. I have been studying for couple of years now. I have 4 diplomas, 3 awards and now I am going for a Business Administration Degree. This is my 3rd year and I have one more year to go. I am planning to be a consultant and probably help our people back home. Most of them get ripped off, they get overcharged, they don’t know where to get resources, they don’t know where to get help and they don’t know how to start a business. So, I just want to help them out. I am actually working on one plan already for a friend of mine who is doing an online business, they are going to be selling handmade purses, bags and keychains, all native made. It’s mostly hand-made sewing merchandise, and they will do bead work as well. Hopefully, the business should be online by next year.
Why did you come to Nipissing University?
“I love educating myself. I never had the opportunity to be recognized as a mature student when I was younger. I started my education from Canadore College, and that’s where I got my 4 diplomas from. I came to Nipissing University to upgrade my knowledge and skills in business. And, I hope to go back home and help my people out. And also, I love meeting new people. I have met a lot of people, some good and some bad. I had my ups and downs academically and also personally. I lost a lot people in my life while getting my education. I also met a lot of great people. Support from family and good friends made a huge difference to continue. Especially, from people that believe in you, with good support, you can go a long way.”
What would you say was the saddest time of your life?
“When I was a student at Canadore College, I encountered a few sad times. I lost both my parents. I had a brother that got murdered. And my common-in-law died of a heart attack. And, that was in a 10 years span. Those were the saddest days that I had to endure while I was in school and it was extremely hard. But, I never gave up because of the circumstances. These were the people that I wanted to make proud. Before they passed away, they encouraged me the most to go to school with a lot of support. As soon as I got my first diploma, I said, I’m going to quit school to take care of my dad. After my dad got sick, he almost died. My late mother told me, “Don’t quit school. Go back. Your dad’s going to be okay.” Then, we lost my brother before my dad died. Nearly, every year, I lost someone dear in my life. First it was my mom, then my brother, then I lost my dad and 9 months later I lost my spouse. I was in college during those days, and those were the saddest times I ever had and I think death is the ultimate challenge we all face when we go to school. We students make a lot of sacrifices, we leave our families, and friends. I think that’s the hardest part, for me. But I’m glad my family always supported me with school and now here I am. I made it to university.”
If your parents were alive, is there something you would want to say to them?
“One of the biggest sacrifices that every student has to make is leaving their parents, and their siblings. Some people who are older like me, had to leave my kids and grandkids. When I first told my parents I was going to school, they weren’t very happy about it. Until they found out I was doing very well with my life, because coming back to school changed my life. It gave me more opportunities, I met a lot of people, and I thank my late mother because she was the first one that encouraged me to go back to school, when, I wanted to stay home and take care of my dad. I thank her for that, for giving me the love and encouragement.
Pardon me if this is too personal, how long were you in residential schools for?
“Nine years. Nine years straight. Never went home. Never went home for Christmas, never went home for Easter. If you guys want, you can add this… I had to endure all the abuses. Every abuse. I lived through that. I even have scars. This scar… [points to his forehead] I got pushed into a wall for not snitching on my friends that were running around the hallways, just having fun. I didn’t know who was running around the hallways, and the counsellor banged my head on the wall for not speaking. My hands here… [shows us his palms] See the scars? These are straps for talking my language. I got strapped for talking my language and these are the scars I had from them. And every time we accidentally spoke our language, we got strapped. And also, um, these two scars right here… [shows us his arm] I got pushed through a window because I didn’t make my bed right, all because, there was a lump on my bed and I got pushed through a window. And this scar here… [shows us his other arm] the cigar burn? For losing a hockey game.
Photos by ©Isaac Bender
We have now reached the time period in the semester in which we are struggling to find the motivation to continue the hard work we have been applying to our papers, projects, and presentations. With all of this work on hand, we may sometimes forget to find the time to destress. I would like to share with you an activity I engage in almost every day.
To the untrained eye, Zentangles may appear to be beautifully planned doodles. And as enticing as it is to classify them as doodles, a form of art we are all familiar with, it would be misleading to reduce an elegant art form into a definition that suits our tastes. In doing so, the art form would be deprived of its richness.
Zentangles are a method of meditation through artistic expression. The Zentangle Method focuses on creating abstract drawings which are composed of patterns, or tangles, that are fabricated one stroke at a time and build upon each other. The Zentangler is required to concentrate on the tangles manifesting from the ink of their pen, which is similar to an individual who centralises on their breath during meditation. Essentially, the Zentangle Method does not have a predetermined idea of the ending result. Its objective is to enhance one’s personal creativity in order to compose an appreciated and whimsical drawing the Zentangler is comfortable with. Simply put, the Zentangler is engrossed in the manipulation of tangles to heighten their well-being and mindfulness, while simultaneously providing artistic satisfaction.
“Keep creating, it will change your life.” Not only does creating add beauty to your life, but also it improves our attitude and personal outlook.”
— Beckah Krahula (One Zentangle A Day: A Six Week Course in Creative)
Mikee Layaoen is a fourth year student in the Psychology program minoring in Human Resources
As I approach the end of my undergraduate year, I begin to think about what my plans are after graduation. But more often than not, I also catch myself recalling the experiences I’ve had and the people I’ve met who have made these four years worthwhile.
When I look back to the person I was entering my first year of university, I am amazed to see just how much I’ve grown into who I am now. Back then, I was shy and kept to myself. I am still just as quiet then as I am today; however, I am more confident in myself, I am more independent, and I am not afraid to put myself in unfamiliar situations. It is because of the people I know that I am able to note these observations. But more importantly, it is because of my realization that at the end of the day, I only have myself to depend on. There are people who are more than happy to support me, but they will not always be available. Now, I fully understand that if I want my life to change for the better, I have to rely on myself and believe in my potential.
Here are a few things I’ve learned during my undergraduate year:
- Everyone is different.
We may all attend the same school and live under the same roof, but our backgrounds, values, goals, personalities, and preferences are all different. Therefore, the experience you create for yourself in university will not be the same as your peers and that’s okay.
- Meet other people.
During my first year of university, I was lucky enough to be able to live in the same residence with my best friend from high school. There is comfort and security in knowing a friend is with you during this novel, exciting chapter of your life, but don’t let this advantage hold you back from meeting other people.
- Do the assigned readings!!
When I attended the orientation, nobody really addressed this to me. I suppose I should have figured it out on my own, but reading the assigned texts prior to the first day of classes is important. Not only that, but it is essential to understanding what the lecture will be about. Most students sell their old textbooks and some professors are okay with using an older version of the books. You just have to ask to make sure. 🙂
- Try new things.
Investigate what resources are available to you (i.e. Club Days). I think it is important to involve yourself in things you enjoy. If you are unsure of your commitment to something, you can always try something else. I believe in the phrase “Know your limit, stay within it”, but going beyond your comfort zone can be beneficial. For example, I visited Club Days and found a volunteer club I was interested in. I was able to make friends with people who shared the same interests me, while also participating in something I enjoy.
- It’s okay to feel frustrated multiple times throughout the school year.
I certainly have had many occasions in which I thought that I was too incompetent to complete an assignment. I’ve also had moments in which I would cry and scream because of the stress that have accumulated with trying to balance school work, extracurricular activities, time to yourself, time for friends, and more. It’s important to remember that these are signs of hard work, care, growth, and maturity.
- Take advantage of the trails at school.
As for someone who enjoys walks, I am grateful to be able to access an abundant amount of trails on campus whenever I please. Nature walks are an easy way to relieve stress and clear your mind. Which reminds me, I still need to set up a snowshoeing date with friends…
- The friendships you make will last a lifetime.
The people you meet in class and outside of it will be some of the most memorable people in your life. They will be people you have study groups with, share laughs with, cry with, etc. You might also meet people who are in a different year as you and become friends with them. I know that for me, I know some people who are in their second or third year of university and I will miss leaving them behind. So make sure to visit and stay in touch with them. You are both their friend and mentor.
Last but certainly not least, laugh wholeheartedly every day and always set new goals for yourself. Approach each new day with an open mind, a kind heart, and confidence. University will be the quickest and most notable years of your life. And now, I would like to end with one of my favourite quotations ever:
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” — George Bernard Shaw
Mikee Layaoen is a fourth year student in the Psychology program minoring in Human Resources
I’m divided against myself
The parts of me fighting for domination
Cutting out the weak bits
And letting them die
Don’t be afraid
Don’t fight the inevitable
The tug and pull of heart and mind
Mind and heart
One of them will get it right
One of them won’t f**k up
It’s math, it’s science, it’s destiny, it’s fate
You can’t be wrong every time
Oh no I f**ked up
The good parts are divided
They cannot make whole
I’m pieces and f**k ups and screw ups and more
Maybe if I could put myself right
But there isn’t anything to try
Parts are missing, unglued, undone
I can’t find them they’re gone
Parts of me are lost
Replaced and replaced; I’m not myself
I’m others in fragments
Not myself but them
They are not good but neither I am
Sara Johnston is a Psychology student who loves reading, writing, and cuddling with her rabbit.
The First Snowfall
I grew up in a country where it does not snow. When I moved to Canada in 2005, I was able to experience snow for the first time. Prior to my arrival, my family and I gathered in the living room together and searched for photos of snow on the Internet. I remember the excitement I felt as we clicked on each photo that showcased many houses and trees covered in snow. It was a simple large white blanket that concealed the green grass and brown dirt I had known all my life.
Today, on October 27, 2016, the first snowfall approached gently. The snow floats and falls to the earth so freely, unlike rain that seems to fall purposefully. The icy season we either despise or adore is coming. During this time, every breath becomes visible, and our cheeks automatically develop a rosy colour. During this time, the colours from the land gradually diminish into a white landscape, and the warmth of the sun fades. Everything becomes frail and frozen.
When the city becomes tiresome from the extraneous activities of shoveling and the like, I wish for the blanket of snow to melt away. However, when I am curled up indoors, I often find myself looking outside the window, mesmerized by this characteristic of winter.
So now I wonder, what if I had never been able to see snow or experience winter in person? I’m sure green Christmases wouldn’t be any different because I’ll have my family by my side. But I think that now, as I reflect about this particular season, I have to admit that I have taken it for granted. And I think I started to turn away from my excited feelings over winter when I realized that it is not a lively season, despite its visual appeal.
The moral of the story is this: Begin to value the qualities of gratitude and appreciation.
You may already do in regards to your family, friends, pets, education, etc. But have you applied it to each aspect of your life? Let your mind wander for a few minutes and think about your environment – your surroundings, which are far more valuable to you than you think.
“The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?”— J. B. Priestley
Hey there! My name is Mikee Layaoen. I am a fourth year student in the Psychology program and I am also minoring in Human Resources. I was born in the Philippines, grew up in Saudi Arabia, and now I am attending university here at Nipissing. My hobbies include hiking, cooking, reading, and doing art. I don’t really have a favourite book, but if you get the chance, I highly recommend reading Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. My favourite movie is A Beautiful Mind (2001). My favourite clouds are altocumulus clouds. I am passionate about experiencing different cultures, whether it is through trying new food or learning specific traditions. Thank you for checking out my blog posts, and take care!
Hello and welcome to our new website and blog. We are hoping to make this an interactive area of the website where students are able to show off their creativity. We are calling our blog W.H.A.M.that stands for WRITING, HUMOUR, ART and MUSIC. We want this to be a space for students to show off different talents and have a creative outlet.
We are looking for items such as:
- Short stories
- Graphic design
- Humourous stories
- Videos of music you’ve created
- Sound clips of music you’ve created
Sound like something you might be interested in? Then email Director of Communications, Sarah McGowan at [email protected]