For a Lakehead Nursing Student...
Why did you choose your program? What makes it unique to you?
I chose my program because I knew I wanted to go into a nursing program as I am naturally altruistic and have a passion for helping people, and when doing my research on universities Lakehead had a lot of stand-out points that impressed me. They have small class sizes, so all my professors have recognized my face if not known me by name, and out of all the nursing programs I was considering Lakehead's offered a clinical placement in the first year. This was important to me, as being able to gain as much experience as possible while in school is
something I want to do. I was lucky enough to be able to visit the campus before submitting my application, and all the students and staff on campus were really welcoming and kind. On top of the program having everything I was looking for, the people really helped solidify that Lakehead would be a good fit for me.
What's one misconception about Lakehead?
A misconception about Lakehead is that Thunder Bay is a tiny boring town and that there's nothing to do. Thunder Bay is a really great town, and there's lots to do! I'm from Toronto so in comparison, there's not a lot of variety for shopping, but there are almost endless things to do outside.
I've also heard some people say that Lakehead is easy to get into, or "nobody even goes there." In response to that, I believe that any school or program is easy to get into if you work hard- and yes, people do go here and really enjoy it.
How would you describe the workload and work-life balance?
The workload can be a lot sometimes, as nursing is a demanding program. You're studying to take care of sometimes very sick people, so it makes sense that it can't always be easy. That being said, after the
learning curve of organizing and planning study time and finding what works best for you, the work-life balance is pretty decent. The workload fluctuates throughout the four years depending on the classes you need to take, and some semesters are easier to handle than others, but none of them are too much to take on. I have a work-study position on campus and I'm involved in multiple extracurriculars, and I still have time to run errands and spend with my friends.
Do you feel there's a good support/transition program for freshman students?
The support for incoming first year students is pretty good, but when I was a first year, I personally didn't take advantage of all the services available to me. Now I use all of the available supports, but I didn't back then and so I think that's the main reason why my transition to university wasn't as smooth as it could have been. Student Central and the Student Success Centre are amazing resources, and the Lakehead University Nursing Association (LUNA) can provide more program-specific information. The first year orientation events held right before classes begin are really helpful, and they feature a lot of activities to meet people as well as times where you split into faculties/programs and have time to ask questions to some of the professors you'll have at some point in your four years.
What is some advice you would give high school students when applying to your program?
Make sure you have good marks in both grade 11 and 12, as nursing is a pretty competitive program. Try your best not to worry too much if you don't get a response from Lakehead immediately after you submit your application, because although sometimes they're pretty fast with
responses, other times they've got a lot of applications to process and so it might take longer than you expected. If it comes down to it, Lakehead won't just say "no" to you; they'll give you an alternate offer, and if you accept it then you might be able to transfer into the nursing program after a year. There are lots of options, so if you decide that you're interested in nursing but don't have the right pre-requisite classes don't worry! If you contact Student Central then they can help you navigate all your options. Also, the compressed program is the same as the collaborative program, except it's condensed into three years instead of four- I think you should only choose this program if you have an amazing work ethic, or if this won't be your first university degree.
A very special thank you to our interviewee...
MELISSA RABINDRANATH BREZINA
My name is Melissa, and I'm a third-year nursing student at Lakehead University! I am also completing a minor in Psychology, and along with my degree, I hold a work-study position at Student Central (one place for enrollment, course registration, financial support, academic advising, graduating, and more). As for extracurriculars, I'm a part of Compass North Student-Led Clinic, I'm an executive member of the Lakehead University Community Outreach Association, and I'm a member of the Senate Undergraduate Studies Committee (a subcommittee of Lakehead's Senate). I've also worked in Lakehead's recruitment department, both giving tours and calling prospective students to answer questions about the nursing program. I grew up in Toronto and came to Thunder Bay for school, so I'm from out of town just like a lot of other Lakehead students. I work as a personal support worker (PSW) and a summer camp counsellor over the summer when I'm with my family in Toronto, and I love reading, writing, listening to music, and spending time outside in my free time. If you're a current high school student who has any questions about Lakehead, feel free to send me a message on Facebook or Instagram! I can redirect you to the correct place for answers if I can't answer your question!