Alex came to CMA for her grade 12 year after having recovered from a very serious injury. In a relatively short amount of time she made a huge impact as one of CMA’s most well-rounded students. Alex is now studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Victoria.
In Grade 10, I broke my back and had severe head trauma and neurological symptoms that took me away from everything in my life. It took me over a year to recover enough to go back to school on a semi-regular basis. My experiences during that time confirmed for me that there had to be another way or a different place for me to go to school. One where I could feel inspired. One where teachers were passionate about teaching and students were passionate about learning, and hopefully, where I could learn and be supported by my peers too. It felt like a lofty goal at the time but CMA definitely achieved that for me and I am very grateful for that. – Alex
Q & A with Alex:
1) How did CMA prepare you for university?
I think it is pretty hard to be prepared for university, no matter how many extra university-level courses you take. Although it definitely helps to have been exposed to some of the material in advance, the way we did at CMA. Definitely, the hardest thing to adapt to is the pressure and workload. CMA gave me some really important skills that I hadn’t really practiced at other schools. Most importantly, I actually had the opportunity to do some homework. It also let me practice problem-solving and critical thinking through projects and group discussions/workgroups. With the support of the teachers through those things, I was able to improve and gain confidence in figuring stuff out on my own. This turned out to be very important in university. It also taught me how to coexist with a group of, in general, educated, passionate, and opinionated people. My classmates didn’t always get along but seeing how everyone worked together or didn’t, prepared me more than I expected for group work with other engineers who always think they’re right. I also can’t imagine how different my life would have been without the network of friends and the experiences I gained through the LEAD program.
2) How did CMA help “ignite your spark” for adventure?
I think “ignite your spark” is a little dramatic. I already had a passion for adventure which was one of the big benefits of going to CMA in the first place. However, what CMA did do was introduce me to an environment where everyone else was at least as passionate as I was. Although I had hiked, biked, and paddled before, having a group of people to push and teach me allowed me to really enjoy and improve. I am very glad to have spent hours chasing after the cardio club in mountain biking and having them wait patiently at the bottom for me or show me the lines and encourage me to try new things. I am so happy to have met a group that reintroduced me to whitewater kayaking in a safe way. Because of that, we now have an ever-growing group of paddlers in Squamish, as well as in Victoria, that is mainly all CMA alumni.
We wish Alex the best during her year of study and look forward to the next time we cross paths on the trails or rivers.