I grew up in a small town in Southwestern Ontario, called Newbury. It has 440 people, and our main attraction is a Home Hardware, a beautiful Home Hardware, but still a Home Hardware. I grew up with cornfields, 40 degree weather with the humidex, and tobogganed down a ditch because that was our biggest hill in the winter.
However, when the time came to choose a university, I chose to go to the Muskoka Campus of Nipissing University, located in Bracebridge Ontario. The staff at the Muskoka campus made me feel welcome from my first day there. They allowed me to show off my unique talent of spinning wool (yes, like a pioneer, on a spinning wheel) during my sociology class. I got to work with my professor, Dr. Tom Waldock, in writing a research paper in my undergrad, with a topic of my choosing. I was able to access services such as the Nipissing Learning library. The staff there got more emails from me then I care to count. They always helped, even on weekends.
I made amazing lifelong friends, both on the campus and in the community. Bracebridge welcomed me as a student, specifically at Oliver’s where I would camp out for HOURS, drinking chai lattes and writing papers. I was welcomed at the Sportsplex, where I had a gym membership and loved to swim. I was welcomed at the local library, where the staff were always helpful and willing to source anything that I needed. I loved exploring local trails on cross-country skis, where I was OUT OF CONTROL and landed in some very unhappy raspberry bushes. NOTE: Southern Ontario people, if you learned to cross country ski on flat land, you should not tackle hills without instruction. Take it from me.
When I went arrived at the main campus for my B.Ed. Degree, these experiences continued, from hiking the trails during the first snow, to swimming in Lake Nipissing, to working here now as a student recruitment officer. My Nipissing experiences haven’t ended yet, and I don’t think they ever will.
The Nipissing experiences are what have made me into the southern/northern girl that I now am. I love visiting home, the 40-degree heat and the green winter holidays, but the snow, my favourite hangouts, my friends and my school have converted me into a northern girl. You should give it a try sometime.