August 1, 2011
This week, our story comes to us from Fredericton, New Brunswick. The author, Candice Perley, recently graduated from the New Brunswick Aboriginal Workplace Essential Skills (NBAWES) program. Candice’s teachers find she is a great team player, a deep thinker and she possesses creative skills in art and words. Before she started the program, she felt she wasn’t on the right track, with no education and no job. Now she is a different person; she has the confidence to stand up for herself.
The word “uncertain” was the word that described my life. It is followed by many meanings, such as “not confident, assured, or free from hesitancy; dependent on chance or unpredictable factors; doubtful; of unforeseeable outcome or effect” In my eyes, it was like an abrupt stop at a four way stop sign. There were four different paths with four different unexplored terrains. That silhouette of a girl standing there – was me.
I stood there as time went by slowly, observing everyone else as they decided their path cause I myself, was too frightened to move. Some paths looked rocky, with hills visible to the eye immediately. Others looked smooth, manageable…but all paths slowly faded into the darkness. And that darkness was the darkness of the “unknown” that was giving me cold feet.
I felt overwhelmed with feelings of many kinds – cautious, paranoid, excited yet scared, clueless, indecisive, etc...Then to my surprise someone came along to aid me. She had told me about this path that was barely seen by the eye; on it was an opportunity that not a lot of others got the chance to experience. This path she spoke of sounded pretty simple, it sounded like stepping stones without gaged edges and sudden drops, this path sounded promising. So, as she stepped forward onto this path, I followed behind.
It is now the month of April. I was introduced to multiple different people with various lifestyles and backgrounds, twelve of them I got the honour to bond with four days a week since the month of the November. Though we realized we all had our differences, we all had one common goal; getting through this course till the end. So not only did we have to learn the “workplace essential skills” but that meant we also had to learn to connect with others, to hear their point of view and opinions even if we didn’t agree, and to compromise.
Sure, we did hit some rough patches but what was expected when you stick twelve people in a room so small you have to squeeze between the large desks. The teachers they chose to take charge and show leadership to deal with these things though, were such a great choice of candidates to fill the position. They provided us with support, knowledge, comfort, showed concern and always did their best to understand and listen. They did not treat us like any “student” a teacher had the responsibility to teach. They treated us like individuals, and friends. They showed strength, and made us feel just as strong and as capable as any other person in this world to do great things in life.
Not only did the N.B.A.W.E.S. teachers provide me with lessons and opportunities that will help me in the real working world, but they’ve given me confidence in myself that I’ve never had before. Every day that I walked into St. Thomas I felt like my eyes were opened a little wider and my head slowly rose higher and higher from the ground.
So, I don’t count down the days “till class is finally done” because honestly, these people have become a significant part of my life. I will never forget their words of wisdoms, they encouragement, their strength and different personality’s that grew on me. I count down the days knowing that when I leave this course, I am leaving with so much more than had expected, I am leaving with the feeling that finally; I am on the right track in life. Feeling like finally; I am a whole new person, and this is the starting of a new beginning in this game of life. I’m ready to hunt for what the world has to offer without any stops because of “cold feet”.
I’ve got wings now, and I’m ready to soar high above with a sharp eye…and I really couldn’t thank anyone enough for this life changing experience.
[This story was taken with permission, from the New Brunswick Aboriginal Workplace Essential Skills (NBAWES) website, under Success Stories. ]