News Archives: GPRC recognizes Star Students online
Monday, November 30th, 2020
Jenna Galway, fourth year in GPRC’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.
GPRC’s President’s Ball is the College’s largest annual fundraising event. With collective donations over the past five years, this event has helped to raise over $480,000 directly impacting our students and their success. One of the most loved aspects of the President’s Ball is recognizing our Star Students.
Star Students are students that stand out and shine for a variety of reasons including being an academic star; an outstanding volunteer involved in the College community; or someone who has shown significant improvement or made outstanding effort during their time here at GPRC. Star Students are nominated by GPRC faculty and staff.
Although, the 2020 GPRC President’s Ball was postponed until it’s safe to all get together again, we are excited to still highlight and recognize 8 incredible students virtually.
Thank you to our community for your valued support and ongoing commitment to our College.
Meet Jenna Galway.
Jenna is a fourth year in GPRC’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. GPRC Communications and Marketing got to virtually meet with Jenna and ask a few questions on what it meant to her to be recognized by her instructors as a Star Student.
Check it out.
What does it mean to you to be chosen as a Star Student and recognized for your hard work?
Being recognized as a Star Student really captures the fruition of hard work and determination. Being honoured and recognized has broken any limitation I had created for myself. I am a mature Indigenous student who does not come from a family with a strong educational background. I noticed the residual effects of intergenerational trauma due to residential schools in my mid-twenties. I believed a high school diploma was going to be the pinnacle of my educational journey. The challenges of education did not originate because I wasn’t bright enough, although at the time I would have believe this to be true, but more so because our colonized history had extinguished our sense of identity and purpose. Becoming a mother completely changed my life trajectory and from then on, the future of my children became central in every decision. This recognition along with my degree signifies resilience opposed to the continuance of trauma. Redefining my future through education has the potential for a trickle-down effect to my children, because they now have a real example of what can be accomplished with support from institutions like GPRC.
Why did you choose to come to GPRC? What have been some highlights of your academic career so far?
GPRC was a good fit because it was important to me that class sizes were small and there was the opportunity to form positive connections with my instructors. What I discovered at GPRC was that every class offered new challenges and upon successful completion of each class, I had this growing confidence in myself as an academic.
While achievement is an obvious highlight, it is the relationships I have made with my instructors that have really been the most impactful. My Indigenous values remind me that receiving knowledge and having another chance with education is a privilege I will not take for granted.
A lot of the teachings really fall in line with the Seven Sacred Teachings so the knowledge I have received goes beyond literature. Alison Forest taught me humility; Bonnie Hessler taught me how to advocate for myself; Dr. Sean Irwin taught me commitment; Tracy King taught me truth; Alise Rombs taught me strength; Louise Rawluk taught me altruism; Jim Wohlgemuth taught me self-compassion; Karen Oostra taught me humour; Eleni Hansen taught me resilience; Deena Honan taught me respect; Megan Stone taught me courage; Tamara VanTassell taught me confidence; Sarah Worton taught me how to nurture; Susan Moodie taught me patience; and Gloria Taylor taught me kindness. It is these lessons I will carry forward in nursing so I can leave a positive imprint on those I encounter, much like my instructors have left on me.
What are your future goals after you finish your program at GPRC?
While I am ready to conclude the journey of obtaining a degree in nursing, I intend to continuously build on my knowledge formally and informally. I plan to complete the Advanced Studies in Critical Care Nursing at Mount Royal University. I hope to become part of the Intensive Care Unit at Queen Elizabeth II, the unit I am currently working on for my final preceptorship with Brittany Cook, an exemplary nurse who has inspired me to develop a strong self-regulated practice. Once I complete this training, I want to obtain a master’s degree followed by a doctoral program in nursing so I can pursue nursing research and become an educator. With that said, ask me next year and these goals may change. I am the type of student who allows my experiences and successes to mould my future. Last year, I never would have thought I could work in a critical care setting. My decision for placement was a last-minute one based entirely on feeling rather than calculation. I think it is important to allow flexibility in our lives and to trust our feelings as an innate compass to lead us in the right direction.
What are you up to when you’re not studying or in class?
I am a busy mother of three beautiful children. My son, Kehlan, keeps me engaged in the exciting world of biology and adventure. My daughter, Kenzie, ignites my creativity and inspires me to find moments of quiet when life gets a little too stimulating. My youngest, Harper, prevents me from taking life too seriously by enjoying impromptu dance parties and bake-offs in the kitchen. Harper also teaches me the importance of maintaining strong boundaries, a quality she surely has mastered. My husband and I work a lot with our youth sport program, “Swan City Basketball”, so basketball is a huge part of our lives. When we are not at the gym, we are constantly trying to find new ways to facilitate youth sport in our community, while also actively promoting opportunities for Indigenous and female athletes.
While family is a very large part of where I allocate my spare time, I like to dabble in home design, tackling a do-it-yourself project, weightlifting, going for walks, and volunteering. I also like to take the time to learn more about my culture and to find ways I can become a strong helper and mentor within the Indigenous community. In March 2019, I was selected as one of five students to be part of AIM-HI Indigenous Field School with a research focus. AIM-HI is a joint venture between Mount Royal University and the University of Calgary which has facilitated connections with Indigenous students, Elders, and professionals throughout Alberta. Our abstract was recently submitted and approved so I am very excited to continue being a contributor to this research project.
We want to know some of your favourites. Favourite class so far at GPRC? Favourite study snack? Favourite study spot?
To this day my favourite classes are Dr. Sean Irwin’s Pathophysiology and Microbiology classes. I liked Dr. Irwin’s classes because not only were they extremely challenging, his classes helped develop the curiosity of “why”. In nursing, I find there to be a strong focus on skill. Students want to learn how to put in an IV or something along those lines and these skills are then used as a determinant to success. For myself, skills are a bit of an after-thought. Don’t get me wrong, skills are an important part of nursing, but in my opinion, they are not the most important part. My priority as a student has always been to build a solid foundation of knowledge. Taking the time to really understand the “whys” is imperatively instrumental in nursing but somehow becomes concealed by skill. Dr. Irwin taught me that simply memorizing the content will not help prepare for the exam, nor will it translate into practice.
My favourite study snack…this is a loaded question. I would love to snack on chips and chocolate all day, every day. Unfortunately, potato chips and chocolate bars do not fall under a food group. I try to nourish my body appropriately for long study sessions especially with long periods of stagnation. Hummus with pretzels and veggies is a favourite of mine that always gets packed in my lunch. I also like to satisfy my cravings for sweets with fresh fruit smoothies and trail-mix sprinkled with M&Ms or chocolate chips. Best of both worlds.
Prior to COVID-19, my favourite study routine was to find a quiet spot upstairs in the Learning Commons to familiarize myself with the material and condense my study notes. Then, I like to watch videos to fill in any knowledge gaps. Finally, if I had the time, I would meet up with a motivated student so we could quiz each other and have conversations to really cement in the final pieces of learning the material.
This has been an unprecedented year with the COVID-19 pandemic. How have you adapted to the new learning landscape? What have been some helpful or useful tips you have learned throughout this experience?
Children are such resilient humans so seeing how incredibly understanding and adaptive my kids have been during the pandemic has been inspiring. The first two days of the pandemic were very difficult for me. I questioned how I would finish my degree with my three children around constantly. I had no idea where I was going to find time to study now that my kids not only depended on me to nourish and nurture them but now, they also needed me to homeschool them. While I am used to multi-tasking, my family has always given me time alone to prepare for exams and complete assignments which the pandemic learning landscape no longer allowed for.
I quickly learned from my children that even if the learning format was different, the end goal had not changed. I witnessed my children go through the motions of learning in a completely new way and they appeared to be excited by change. Although COVID-19 was certainly life-altering, my kids did not view the pandemic as devastating. Thus, it was apparent I needed to find a way to adapt so they could continue managing the pandemic in a healthful way. I acknowledged my challenges and then found new ways to cope. I woke-up earlier to study before my children woke up and adapted to studying later in the evening as I knew that productivity during the day was going to be drastically less. I tried to recreate the library by setting up a study space free of distractions and clutter. I made a schedule on my calendar of what I needed to accomplish for the day which kept me accountable and focused. Finally, I relied on the support of my peers to keep me motivated which was new for me since I had always been the student who motivated myself. Relying on others opened the opportunity for stronger connections and served as a reminder that in times of need, we must lean on each other to overcome. Overall, COVID-19 has taught me how to slow down and find balance. The pandemic experience emphasized that while children are resilient, we as adults can be too if we can just view the situation from a different perspective.
What advice would you give to a fellow student to motivate them in their studies?
Motivation is a quality unique to everyone because it is dependent on what the individual’s personal goals are. I think it is important to acknowledge what one’s goals are and create a realistic plan of how to reach those goals. This advice seems entirely too simple but there is really no need to complicate the process of learning. Regardless of what the goal is, whether it is to achieve an A or comfortably get a C in Statistics, it is important to make a study plan and remain dedicated to the plan in order to reach the goal. The plan would obviously look different for a student with a goal of receiving an A on their exam, versus the student whose goal is to obtain a C. In addition to identifying the goal and creating a plan, it is equally important for a student to advocate for their learning style so the plan can be constructed in a way that will facilitate learning. I will end with Alise Romb’s cathartic advice, “Never apologize for your learning style, because there is nothing wrong with the way you learn - even if it is different.”
Congratulations Jenna on being chosen as a 2020 Star Student. We can’t wait to see what you achieve next.
To learn more about the President’s Ball and how you can support GPRC students, please visit our website.