College Life Blog

College Life Blog

College life is your typical college stereotypes. College can be stressful, nerve-wracking, and exciting, all at once. I procrastinated to attend an institution for years after high school for fear of failure and choosing a career that best suited me. “Am I making the right choice?” “Is now the right time?” “When is the right time?” For some, it comes easy, as if they had known their entire lives what they were going to be when they grew up. For some, it takes years and some it comes at just the right time. From one student to another, let me say, “you are not alone.”

Once the decision was made to follow through with my education, and for my career, I was happy. I went to class every day; assignments were handed in on time, tests, and the course knowledge came easy. Then as the first month past, I noticed my motivation began to slip. I was making excuses for myself and lying about those excuses. I found the balance of school, work, and my own sanity just wasn’t there. Feeling tired from the defenses and shame within myself, I reached out to a counselor on the MY SSP app because I knew I wasn’t getting out of this on my own. What came to light after our 30-minute session was weightlifting. I learned not to think about my day in a negative way; instead, try and find something positive to look forward to. I learned to talk to myself with patience, to stop beating myself up for everything I was doing wrong and start to tell myself a positive as a replacement. Something that may seem so small but helped a lot was to pick out an outfit the night before or pack my lunch to relieve some of those added morning stressors. Not every experience is the exact same, but I thought I could share a little of mine with you in hopes that when you question your “why, when, where, etc.”, you know there are others just like you. So please, from one student to another, let us put an end to THE MENTAL HEALTH STIGMA!

Submitted by GPRC Student Ambassador, Shawnee Stanley.

What I’ve Learned from Mental Health First Aid

What I’ve Learned from Mental Health First Aid

During my post-secondary journey, I had the opportunity to complete the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) course, which is offered through the Pace Centre here in Grande Prairie. In the last five years depression and psychological disorder rates for young people have increased substantially. With this increase comes the need for an increase in awareness about the signs and symptoms related to mental health illnesses and diseases. Mental health illness and disease can affect anyone, mental health disorders impact people of all ages, genders, and socioeconomic statuses. Unfortunately, many people suffering from the symptoms feel afraid or ashamed to discuss their situation because they feel that society labels those suffering mental health as being unfit or incapable. The stigma surrounding mental health prevents individuals from seeking a professional or even reaching out to others for help. As a community, raising awareness about the signs and symptoms of mental health illness and disease is crucial. Mental Health First Aid provided me a better understanding of how to communicate with someone demonstrating the signs and symptoms. Raising awareness on mental health disorders within the community will create a supporting, positive environment for everyone and will potentially save lives. The crippling stigma attached to mental health is a concern we all, as a community, need to work together to address in order to allow these individuals to receive the help they need.


The five basic actions of MHFA are:

Assess the risk of suicide and/or harm

Listen non-judgmentally

Give reassurance and information

Encourage person to seek appropriate medical/professional help

Encourage other supports- friends, family, support groups, etc.


This course allowed me to feel more confident in my abilities to assist someone struggling with mental health. On a daily basis, I intend on being more aware of those around me, a simple conversation can change someone’s life. For more information on the MHFA course, you can contact Pace or talk to the Continuing Education staff at GPRC, or the staff involved with Peer Counselling at GPRC.

Source: Google

Submitted by GPRC Student Ambassador, Natasha Getz.

Student Ambassador Submission: With the End in Mind

Student Ambassador Submission: With the End in Mind

When I was younger my teacher asked the question “what are you going to be when you grow up?”

At that age I daydreamed about being something amazing- a hero, a firefighter, a nurse, a dentist, a farmer, anything really. My imagination ran wild with ideas of who I was to become when I grew up. As I proceeded through life this question became harder and harder to answer. Do we ever really know what we want to be when we grow up?

I will admit I have changed my career goals multiple times as an adult. My original plan was to become an accountant. I was enrolled in the Business Diploma program at GPRC to test the waters only to find out that business and accounting were not my passion. I ended up withdrawing from the program in the second year. My life was stressful and chaotic. I felt like I ruined my life and I would never be able to be something great. I was depressed and felt alone. I couldn’t turn to my family for help because no one understood my daily struggle. I needed some soul searching. I went on a back-packing trip around Australia with a girlfriend; travelling was the best thing for me. I gained a new appreciation for myself because I was finally listening to that little voice inside. I was able to digest my life decision of quitting school. I realized my life wasn’t over and it was okay.

I returned to school a few years after to become a Registered Dental Assistant. At first I didn’t have much of an interest in dentistry. A close friend of mine recommended the program because I could get a job anywhere in the world. I have been an assistant now for six years. I absolutely love the field I am in. I am truly passionate about helping others and I value educating people about their dental needs. I have reached a point in my career where I am ready for change. I need something more. I decided to return to school once again to become a Dental Hygienist.

I am returning to school as a mature student. I feel like I am faced with new challenges as I struggle to find balance with every aspect in my life. I am thankful for having a supportive group of friends and a wonderful, caring boyfriend who help me live my dream.  My biggest advice for students of any age is to listen to your body and not stress the little things. Take time for yourself and spend time with people who make you happy. Learn good study habits and never be afraid to ask for help. When you are stressing over studying and completing assignments remember you are not alone and you are allowed to let loose. Tell yourself to smile everyday, it really does make a difference in your mood.  Try to engage in conversation with someone new. Take pride in being a student. We are in this together.

Submitted by GPRC Student Ambassador, Natasha Getz.

Mental Health Awareness

Mental Health Awareness

In recent pop culture news there has been a lot of darkness.

Just days after multiple celebrity suicides, a written piece from an anonymous author about the persistent nature of depression and how draining it can be for sufferers went viral. You can read the written piece here.

Depression is a serious topic and if  you or someone you know is battling with mental health, please reach out. 

GPRC has multiple support systems in place to help, assist or simply just be there when times get tough.

View all resources in GPRC’s stewardship region here.



GPRC Makes Some Noise for Mental Health

GPRC Makes Some Noise for Mental Health

GPRC is gearing up to make some noise at the weekend’s volleyball match-up against the Lakeland Rustlers.

Created and implemented in 2015 by the SAIT Trojans Outreach Program, Make Some Noise for Mental Health has grown into an ACAC conference-wide awareness campaign to break stigmas around mental health. By involving student-athletes, Make Some Noise for Mental Health is intended to encourage empathy, understanding and open mindedness while promoting resources and support available on campuses and in their communities.

The award-winning campaign expanded to the 17 ACAC member institutions and 11 communities in 2016 and GPRC is so proud to be a part of this campaign again this year.

This year, the ACAC and  Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Alberta Division are once again excited to team up with RBC as the 2018 Make Some Noise for Mental Health presenting sponsor for the second consecutive year.

RBC has also supported GPRC and our students with the RBC Centre for Wellbeing on our Grande Prairie campus.

The RBC Centre for Student Wellbeing aligns with RBC’s commitment to mental health by providing resources to help students feel welcome, valued, confident, safe, and heard.

Resources through the Centre for Student Wellbeing such as the Peer Counselling Program, the Student Ambassador Program and the Elder in Residence Program are actively assisting students with issues that directly relate to their mental health and wellbeing. These resources are readily accessible free of charge on the Grande Prairie campus, and are continuously being evaluated and modified to ensure their continued effectiveness.

We are part of a community that cares, and this week in support of the #MakeSomeNoise for #MentalHealth our GPRC Wolves athletes will be howling for mental health awareness.

Join us in the GPRC gym and howl with the pack.

Friday, January 26
Women play at 6 p.m. followed by the Men at 8 p.m.

Saturday, January 27
Women play at 1 p.m. followed by the Men at 3 p.m.