Meagan Howardson's dream was to be a nurse. But she was short the necessary prerequisites, and couldn't jump into a full courseload right away because she was working full time. Dalhousie's University Prep program allowed her to continue with her busy life, while making university a possibility for her.
Careen Minded: You've experienced considerable success. Tell me about your learning journey and what Dal did to support you?
Meagan Howardson: My learning journey started when I finished high school early. I worked hard to save money, but I didn't have all the credits to enter nursing. The Prep courses offered me countless opportunities for my own professional development: in leadership and in learning. My resume evolved because of the program, and I got into university. I have been loving the nursing program ever since.
How did you know University Prep was a good fit for you?
It was perfect for me. I was able to work full time while taking night courses to better prepare for university. They offered the course I needed in just a two-hour class a week, so I only had to make the trip into town once a week. The instructor was flexible with me, and if for some reason I couldn't make it in, I got the notes so that I could continue my work at home. It was also offered at a great cost for how much it offered me. University is different from prep: You have longer days, and more coffee, and I've had to learn to manage my time more efficiently. Prep helped me to plan ahead and taught me to prioritize my time when life gets busy.
What would you say to someone who is considering the University Prep program, but is nervous to take the plunge?
I would say to absolutely do it–I know, it's scary to do something new. But I'm glad that I did it. I was so nervous at the start, but I was eased into it rather than starting with a full course load in nursing. Prep helped with the transition: I'm in fourth year and I'm a pro at being a student! I'll have my dream job as a nurse in just seven months, and it's something that I've always wanted to do. I'm my best when I'm helping others. I went in, and I never looked back.
What is the advantage of taking University Prep courses at the university where you want to study?
During Prep, I was right on campus and I felt like I was getting a head start at being a Dal student. I was around other students, and it motivated me to see where I wanted to be in the future. I just really hope that the people who are reading this, that they do take that plunge. It's so worth it, I'm so excited about where I am, and I got started here at Dal.