(NLC) – Priscilla Whitehead has spent most of her life caring for others. She worked as a health care aide for 17 years before deciding to go back to school. Her journey to self-care and empowerment through education, and the challenges she has faced along the way, is a testament to her resilience.
When she originally enrolled as a Northern Lakes College student in 1999, Priscilla’s studies were interrupted upon the birth of her first son. She resumed her schooling again in 2003, but withdrew from her program to provide care after her family suffered two traumatic losses. Following that experience, Priscilla became a health care aide, putting her instinctive drive to nurture and support others to important use within her community.
Priscilla was soon handpicked for management positions. Impressed by her dedication, insight, and innovation, Priscilla’s manager encouraged her to enrol in the Business Administration program at Northern Lakes College so that she would have the credentials needed to gain career promotions. Priscilla was moved by the confidence others placed in her abilities and decided to take their advice. She first enrolled in NLC’s Academic Upgrading program to meet the Business Administration program prerequisites, and then registered in the Business Administration program.
“The Business Administration program teaches all the ins and outs of business management,” Priscilla reports. “There’s a lot to learn, so it’s important to be able to juggle all kinds of things: work, family, education. But the teachers have been patient. They really support their students.”
Despite the best laid plans and Priscilla’s ability to manage life’s challenges, a biking accident in September 2022 added another hurdle for Priscilla to overcome. The accident resulted in a broken hip and a month-long hospital stay following surgery. Despite the pain she suffered as she recovered, Priscilla’s determination to continue her education prevailed, in part because of the Supported Distance Learning model at Northern Lakes College.
“Going to NLC has saved me more times than I can count,” Priscilla reflects. “Having those online classes kept my mind off everything I was going through. I was connecting with people who I shared values with, and I was hearing other people, and, in a way, that made me feel like I wasn’t alone.”
Priscilla came to view her education as a way to give back to herself; something she struggled to do at first. She explains, “A part of me felt like going back to school was selfish, but my friends and family reminded me that it was time. That my kids were grown, and that my education would be a good way to help other people in the future.”
The advice she has for prospective students comes directly from the heart. “Don’t be afraid or scared of anything. Go for it. You are capable. And you are worthy of what you’re doing.”
Northern Lakes College offers many programs through Supported Distance Learning. Get more information at www.northernlakescollege.ca/programs-courses