What NU means to me

I’ve put a lot of thought into what Nipissing University means to me. It isn’t the easiest thing to articulate, and I don’t love talking about myself, but it’s impossible to do one without the other. So please, forgive the ramblings to follow.

I’ve always been a strange crossbreed of a free spirit with intense social anxiety. Sometimes I would shut down and do everything possible to blend in. Other times, I would do, wear, and say what I wanted to regardless of what people thought, or what I thought people thought, but I still wasn’t comfortable with myself. Getting over that was a long journey, but it’s a journey that would not, and I’d argue, could not, have happened without my time at Nipissing University.

I’m a first generation student, meaning neither of my parents went to college or university. A side effect of this was that there wasn’t much money set aside for my schooling. There was none, to be exact. But there’s something to being stubborn, and if you’re stubborn enough, Nipissing offers free tuition. Check out the student guide for the requirements. The requirements aren’t that high, and I’m not that smart, but I do love opportunity. It was that opportunity that brought me to Nipissing University. The scholarships stood out, and the individual rooms in residence really spoke to my anxiety. I would figure out the rest from there.

Nipissing was never meant to be my home. This wasn’t even a consideration when I first moved up to North Bay. Nipissing was just going to be a step on the escalator of life, and I was going to be that guy anxiously waiting for everyone to move to the left so I could walk right on up. Like I said – I was stubborn, but not that smart.

To be fair, how could a stubborn 19 year old who has everything figured out expect any of this? Who expects a university professor to remember their name? Or for a 2-page residence form they filled out months ago to match them with life-long friends? I expected a good education and instead received a great one, filled with so many of the opportunities I love so much: I’ve been asked to lecture a university class, I got a publication alongside one of my favourite professors, and I managed to get a Vietnam veteran to admit to war crimes in front of a large-scale audience. Academically, I’m set.

I fell in love at Nipissing. I fell in love with the landscape and the city. I was never a winter person, but the picturesque setting has grown on me. I’m also pretty sure there are still a few spots on those trails that only I’ve been to (okay so I went off path and got lost, it counts). I fell in love with more people than I care to admit, but it was hard not to. This place attracts some really fantastic, passionate individuals. Above all, I fell in love with the school’s community. The people are inviting, they care about what is going on around them and we are all a part of that. People are in tune with each other. There’s always help here if you need it and as someone who doesn’t like talking about himself, I love that you don’t even have to ask for it. I belong at Nipissing U.


John Picard

Student Recruitment Officer