My household is buzzing with noise and activity right now that signals something big is about to happen. The washing machine is going nonstop, my husband is digging out luggage from under the stairs and I am dashing around Lethbridge buying last-minute items on the list. While all this happens, our 15-year-old son is saying goodbye to his friends and double checking for his passport and the printout of contact information he will have in his pocket as he gets on a plane and heads to France to stay with friends for three weeks.
While I am filled with excitement for him at the opportunities and challenges that await as he puts his nine years in French immersion classes to the test, I also am a bit overwhelmed at this next big step out of the nest. It’s only three weeks, after all, but just like those other firsts – leaving a newborn with grandparents, dropping a toddler off at preschool, watching a 5-year-old step on that giant yellow bus – it is an essential part of the process of preparing him to one day fully launch out on his own.
Soon, he will be facing that even-bigger step that we get to witness each fall at Lethbridge College, as students start their post-secondary careers and work to become independent, capable, problem-solving adults. That, I keep telling myself as I buy extra antihistamines and Kleenex for him (because clearly he wouldn’t be able to get those for himself in France), is the ultimate goal. And you only get there with a lot of small and sometimes bittersweet steps.
At Lethbridge College, both the fledglings and their loved ones can find support during this transition at New Student Orientation. NSO is the first step in a student’s academic journey and an important one to take as they work toward their goal of crossing the stage at Convocation. It speaks to the core of our business about the work that goes on across campus to welcome, inform, engage and prepare our students for success. And it’s a truly meaningful tradition.
Lethbridge College’s NSO started 20 years ago as a fairly low-key event in the Barn, where its purpose was to welcome the 300 or so students who chose to attend with a couple of fun activities and lunch. Today, it has grown to be a much more intentional experience for all 1,500 new students, and it includes multiple family orientation sessions, mature student workshops, orientations for all programs, cultural engagement for our Indigenous and international students, and info sessions that address academic, social, emotional and physical wellness. It’s also just a ton of fun.
NSO is one of the 60 cool Lethbridge College ideas highlighted in this final 60th anniversary issue of Wider Horizons. Throughout 2017, we have had a lot of fun celebrating in these pages the places, the people and the ideas that set the college apart and make it such a wonderful place to live, work and learn.
We invite you to come and join in the celebration at Coulee Fest, which takes from from 1 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23. You’ll find music, entertainment, beer gardens, food trucks, a street market, campus tours, family activities and more. For event details, check out lethbridgecollege.ca/60 or as always, just drop us a note at WHMagazine@lethbridgecollege.ca.
Thanks for reading – and bon voyage to everyone heading out on new adventures!