From Confused to Empowered

by Stephanie Neufeld, student volunteer group facilitator at Conway Opportunity Homes

Stephanie with the volunteer group she facilitated at Eva Rothwell afterschool program

University is confusing. Coming from a small, conservative town, this is the first time in my life I was able to pursue different interests and ultimately be myself. This is a great opportunity to explore yourself, but without guidance it can be very overwhelming.

I first got involved with Student Open Circles in my first year, looking for a volunteer experience. I was scared to venture out into the city (I’ve never been on any type of city transit before, so this was my biggest worry) but Student Open Circles made that easy by having a facilitator go to the placement with my group. I loved my first year experience so much that I decided to become a group facilitator in my second year.

I started to learn more about the different programs that Student Open Circles offers like the Personal Discovery Courses. After feeling really confused and overwhelmed with my university life, this was the perfect solution. I was able to talk through my ideas with like-minded individuals, and identify different aspects of my life that needed support.

Looking back at the individual I was in my first week of university, I see a really awkward and confused girl. My experiences with Student Open Circles have given me the confidence and knowledge about myself to grow, and now I feel empowered to better my leadership skills even more. I know when the time comes to graduate I will have the skills I need to be independent and determined.