I was never one for the regular school system

School Within A College
School Within A College

I was never one for the regular school system. Just thinking about entering a classroom a few years ago made me feel ill from the anxiety, often I would walk a couple of minutes to school in the morning, and turn back around. I was scared of the world entirely, I believed there was no safe place or person worth trusting.

After years in the mental health system, I finally was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. A little bit after meeting the psychiatrist who played a huge part in helping me move forward in my life, I was enrolled in the Cadence Program. It was there that I learned that being a leader starts with showing up. My attendance skyrocketed, I began to trust people again and I experienced so many amazing opportunities that changed my life. The motto of Cadence is “a leader is someone who looks at their world and says it doesn’t have to be this way and does something about it.” I changed so much in my two semesters at Cadence. I learned skills that I used today in mu regular life, kicked back habits and changed my internal dialogue to a more positive one. I also had wonderful teachers supporting me as I kept growing.

After graduating from Cadence with a new mindset I found myself wanting to go into another Alt Ed Program. I looked into SWAC (School Within a College) and selected to go into the culinary Dual Credit Program. At Cadence I was taught the importance of cooking and eating a meal as a family. Taking introduction to culinary is a huge leap forward and I am learning how to cook meals I’ve never heard of before and some I would never attempt to cook probably ever (on account of it being too hard for me to handle or the likelihood of the house being burnt down).

Being in the kitchen and really pushing myself to be the best me I can be where I complete my tasks and help others along the way has definitely increased my overall confidence. In the kitchen, we’re all on the same team trying to complete the same goal in the end. That goal being… making delicious food! Alt Ed programs saved me from dropping out of school and really made my high school experience something amazing that I will remember forever. Thank you for this opportunity and thanks to Mrs. Kurylo, Chef Bruce and all the Dual Credit teachers for being super awesome!

Kaitie W

Many pathways to an education

Emmah - Dual Credit - Conestoga College -
Emmah – Dual Credit program at Conestoga College

A leader, something I never would’ve dared call myself when I first began high school. There was once a time when I couldn’t even walk into a classroom without being held back by my anxiety and depression. Thanks to the many alternative education programs I’ve been blessed to be a part of, I am no longer living a life of fear.

It all started with SAL (Supervised Alternative Learning) a program that many of my friends have been successful in, naturally, I figured it would be a good fit for me too (not to mention a big part of me was gravitating in whichever direction my closest friends seemed to be drifting). But I struggled to stay motivated after a long day of working, it was too much diligence for me to pull out a booklet and start working on something else.

Through SAL I was lucky enough to be introduced to April King who could see I was struggling to get work done. She told me about a program called Cadence which initially I was completely uninterested in going to. After going on a tour of the hope house. After speaking to a few friends of friends I decided to reconsider and took a leap of faith. I remember the first few weeks were the hardest, since all my mutual friends were graduated from Cadence I spent my lunch hour walking 20 minutes home then sitting in my room for 15 minutes then walking another 20 minutes back. As tough as it was I held out hope that I was doing the right thing. Before I knew it I was spending my weekends wishing I was in class with my Cadence family.

Being a Cadence student taught me about pushing your limits and being willing to make a positive change in your life. Cadence showed me how good can always come from bad. I chose to apply to SWAC [School Within a College] because I really enjoy cooking and being in Cadence prepared me to motivate myself more and get the booklets done on time. Getting to learn cooking from Chef Bruce was a great experience and I consider myself extremely luck to have had the opportunity. Without Alternative school programs like Dual Credit I can honestly say I don’t think I would’ve make it half this far. I will always carry the lessons I’ve learned from these programs and the lovely memories of the people I got to meet along the way.

Lastly, it was an absolute pleasure getting to spend my days in room A16, extra special thanks go out the Mrs. Kurylo for being her sunny self on the rainiest days.

Affordable Places to Shop During College

Conestoga College - Jasmine Marinelli
Jasmine – 1st year Public Relations student at Conestoga College

College comes with lots of positives but it can become expensive. Especially when you have to start paying for books, car insurance, phone bills, tuition as well as basic necessities. However, there are a few stores I know, that have helped me save a lot of money during my first year at Conestoga.

Plato’s Closet I’m a clothes gal, I obsess over clothes and have a huge wardrobe that consists of clothes I hardly wear. That’s a “me” problem, but I’m sure a lot of you like fashion. Going to the mall can be super expensive. Instead of going to the mall now, I occasionally shop at Plato’s Closet.

Plato’s Closet is a barely used clothing store that consists of the styles that are most popular. You can buy brand name jeans, t-shirts, purses, shoes, jewelry, accessories and even perfume and makeup for 50%-70% off! The best thing about Plato’s Closet is that you can sell your clothes to them as well! Plato’s is super affordable and won’t burn a hole in your wallet… unless you let it.

Wal-Mart – Honestly, what store is more affordable than Wal-Mart? I bet you can’t really think of one, because I know I can’t. You can buy anything and everything at Wal-Mart. But I shop for specific things at Wal-Mart. Mostly beauty products, writing utensils, snacks and necessities for my room (hangers, laundry baskets, picture frames). Wal-Mart’s prices are unreal, and you get to price match as well.

Beauty products like makeup, soap, shampoo/conditioner and facial cleansers are far cheaper than if you were to go to other stores. There are sales that go on weekly that can save you a bunch of money. As for writing utensils and school necessities, I buy all of mine here. Pen’s, paper and binders are what I have recently purchased from Wal-Mart, and they did not break my bank account. So, I definitely suggest taking a look around Wal-Mart if you’re someone that enjoys deals.

Dollarama – Dollarama is the most affordable store on this list. A dollar for a pack of six pens… and yes, they do last longer than a few weeks. Just because things are a dollar, doesn’t mean they are terrible quality. I mean, they aren’t the best quality but they do the job well. I probably visit Dollarama once every two weeks. You can’t get more affordable than a dollar to two dollars for items.

At Dollarama normally I get hair elastics, white board markers (for my Conestoga calendar), snacks, containers to hold my makeup brushes, cards, sticky notes, dog treats… really anything! Dollarama has anything you want to buy there for clearly a super cheap price. What’s also pretty cool about Dollarama is that you see items that you don’t even see in a regular department store. If you’re working on a project, or presentation I definitely suggest going to Dollarama. They have all the project tools you might be looking for, as well as coloured cue cards – which I am obsessed with. So, I definitely suggest shopping there if you want to stay within your budget, and shop for affordable school necessities.

There are probably many other stores that are super affordable for students in college. However, these are just one’s that I catch myself at. Especially when my bank account is not where it should be, and I have crazy expenses that have to be paid. Take a look at these stores and tell me what YOU think!

By: Jasmine Marinelli

End of an Era

21037756_732254460318937_880301144_oI genuinely can’t believe that it is already March. This school year has been a lot of work, but has also flown by so fast. It’s hard to think that in two months I will be finally done my college experience and off into the workforce.

When it comes to deciding how you want to enter the workforce after college, there’s a lot of options and I am definitely having a hard time deciding. Do I want to take some time off and travel or try and find a full-time career right after school ends? I always had the plan to go straight into a full-time career after school ends, but now do I want two part-time jobs instead? So many options.

There are a lot of options available to Conestoga students if you feel as though you are unprepared for a full-time career.

  1. Career Centre – the Conestoga Career Centre is open to all students and offers a ton of services to help students attain their dream career – for free!
    • Career Advising
    • Job Search Support
    • Employment & Career Planning Workshops and more
  2. MyCareer – Located on the left side of your MyConestoga home page.
  • Resume Workshops
  • Hundreds of Job Postings – with new ones everyday
  • Job Fairs

I also check Indeed.com every single day. I like to stay updated with all the job postings and definitely recommend it. I would also recommend volunteering in your field of interest to add experience to your resume. It also shows that you care about your community and giving back.

Do you have any tips regarding getting prepared for the workforce and finding jobs? Let me know in the comments!


How to Prevent Gaining the “Freshman 15”

Conestoga College - Jasmine Marinelli
Jasmine – 1st year Public Relations student at Conestoga College, documenting her 1st year at college

Before we begin, I just wanted to tell you that, a little bit of weight gain is not bad. People consider the Freshman 15 to be a turning point. Just a little bit of stress eating, and having too much fun might cause some weight gain. However, there are many other reasons you could start gaining weight in college. But, we are going to be talking about how to prevent it.

College is really stressful, especially your first year since everything is fairly new. However, your first year is a lot of fun… especially when there are dorm parties on the weekend, and if you’re of age there are bars to go to. It’s really easy to get off track and start ignoring your health. However, there are so many ways to prevent you from gaining the weight.

I am a victim of the Freshman 15, so my advice would be good to listen to haha.

Drink Water. Water is great for you, there is really nothing better. Water boosts your metabolism and cleanses your body of waste. Water is not only good for helping to lose weight, it is also good for many other things, such as: improving skin complexion, reducing acne, preventing cramps, boosting your immune system and relieving fatigue.

The average person should consume at least 8 glasses per day. So, bring a water bottle to school, there are many water stations around the college so you can fill up there. You can actually can get a water bottle at the dollar store that is big enough to contain 8 cups. Water will definitely help prevent weight increase, especially if you drink enough of it every day.

Eat Healthy. This is one of the most important things to do, and will do wonders for reducing the risk of the Freshman 15. Don’t get me wrong a Big Mac is a wonderful dinner, chips and ice cream taste delicious with a 2,000 word essay. But, they are obviously not good for your body. If you make poor eating choices, your body will start to suffer. Stress eating is one of the main weight gain. If eating helps you stop stressing then try changing what you eat into something healthier.

There are lots of great choices in our café, but some might not be the healthiest (Smokes Poutinerie, Pizza Pizza), if you’re looking for something healthy try Subway, or the stir fry station. Unhealthy food tastes good, if it didn’t no one would eat it. But unhealthy food is not good for you, so if you’re worried about the Freshman 15, don’t eat unhealthy.

Leave Some Room for Exercising. Another basic prevention of gaining weight is exercising. There are many ways to exercise and Conestoga gives you lots of options to help do so. The Rec Centre is a great place to exercise. There is a gym upstairs, as well as a track. You can also go to Zumba and fitness classes to help you exercise. If the gym isn’t your thing then go for a walk or a jog outside, maybe even once a day. This will help burn a few calories and help you lose weight. If you start to plan your walks/runs and make it into a routine you will become healthier, and your body will definitely be happy.

The Freshman 15 is not something everyone has to worry about nor is it a bad thing, like I stated. But your health is something that should be monitored. Being healthy is great, and feeling good about yourself is great as well. You don’t need to necessarily take my advice but the Freshman 15 is out there, so let’s prevent him from making you his next target.

By: Jasmine Marinelli

Volunteering at Conestoga

ICSI Shirt Photof you were ever interested in volunteering, Conestoga makes it extremely easy to do since there are so many options and positions. You are able to get recognized for your volunteer positions through the CCR (Co-Curricular Record). The CCR is an official document that recognizes learning/volunteer positions that you have achieved through approved co-curricular experiences at Conestoga! It is a great piece to add to any portfolio or resume to show to employers.

There are so many ways to volunteer at Conestoga and different positions for every interest! Here are some volunteer opportunities that are typically always open:

Student Ambassador – Represent Conestoga at events, student panels and campus tours! Important as they promote the school to prospective students.

Student Panelists – Sit on a panel and tell your story to prospective students. You only have to speak for 5-7 minutes about why you chose Conestoga and your program, the process of applying, highlights and graduation plans!

Event Volunteers – Some events that need volunteers are the College Fairs, and Fall & Spring Open Houses. You will be in charge of greeting and directing guests, giving tours, assisting with set up and help with vendors. These are incredibly important because I know I would have gotten lost when I went to the Open House if it wasn’t for the volunteers.

The CCR (which can be accessed through MyConestoga) has even more opportunities! Make sure to keep updated on all the possible opportunities and consider volunteering at Conestoga!

Chrissy –