My name is Jessalyn Shwaga. I am a first-year student at the University of Regina currently enrolled in the Faculty of Education, I am focusing my education on years pre k to 5.
I grew up in a small farming town called Vanguard Saskatchewan, it is located 45 minutes south-west of Swift Current Saskatchewan. At the moment, there are about 150 people who live in Vanguard (give or take). My family ended up in here because my dad got a job as the school principal and my mom got a teaching job. Vanguard Community School’s enrollment is currently about 90 but has dipped as low as about 65, it is a k-12 school. Throughout my years in Vanguard, I managed to stay with the same group of 7 students. These students were like my family and even though we sometimes got on each other’s nerves we all had a connection that I’m sure a lot of people will never be able to understand. We don’t see each other much these days after separating to go to university but whenever we see each other it’s almost like no time has passed. Vanguard will always hold a very special place in my heart and I will always consider myself a Vanguard Valkyr.
Growing up in Vanguard we often did not have enough kids to make sports teams, so to make sure everyone had the opportunity to play I was enrolled in a lot of sports. This is how I ended up playing hockey, and it led me places I could have never imagined as a kid. In grade 10 I decided to make the bold choice to attend famous private school Athol Murray College of Notre Dame. ND is known for its stellar hockey program and producing many outstanding athletes and scholars. This was a hard decision to make for a small town kid, but I did it to better my education and my athletics. So in August of 2015, I moved away from my parents and friends to go to a place where I knew literally no one. The first few months were hard being away from my support system and everything I was familiar with. I also had a hard time adjusting to the athletic and academic expectations. I had four hours of homework every night, practices every morning at 6am and workouts in the evening, this was something I never had to do at home. Eventually, I learned to love the gym, the ice (even if I had to wake up at 5am), and the homework. It kept me busy so I did not have to think about being away from home. Little did I know that even better things were to come.
My first year my dorm room was N7, in this room was me, and 3 other girls named Taylor, Megan, and Delaney. I made a connection with these girls that I never had before with anyone in my life and when none of them came back for grade 12 year my heart broke. But the great thing about Notre Dame is that you are friends with everyone, we call it “the Notre Dame family”. So in grade 12 when I was moved into the room of N12 I knew I would share just as deep of a connection with these girls as I had with my other friends. My N12 roommates were Femke, Nicole, and Chelsea. These girls became my sisters as well and we made sure our grade 12 year was filled with nothing but happiness. I’m happy to say that I am still in touch with all of these girls to this day.
Graduating from Notre Dame was one of the most bittersweet experiences of my life. I had accomplished something that I never knew I was capable of. Despite all of the challenges I had succeeded at a school that challenges you as much as possible. As our class sang our final song together, the Notre Dame anthem, I couldn’t help but think that if my life were a movie this would be my happy ending. I’ve never felt so much love in my life as our class hugged and cried together. No one said anything but we all knew that it very well might be the last time we ever were all together again. Thanks to technology we all keep in touch but seeing each other is hard since we are from all over the world. When I first went to Notre Dame they told me it would be the best experience of my life, at the time I scoffed, but looking back I realized that they were right, and I truly believe that I went to the best school in the world. Actually, the two best schools in the world, as I cannot forget my smalltown roots. I am equal parts Vanguard Valkyr and Notre Dame Hound and I think that is the best combination.
So that leaves me here, at the University of Regina, almost done my first year, and I’m loving it. I’m sure you know now why I want to be a teacher (because my parents and my other role models all are). I also love children and want to be a part of educating them because I believe everyone deserves an amazing educational experience. However, I also have a passion for law. So after I am finished my degree I plan to apply (and hopefully be accepted) into law school. If that does not work out them I am more than happy to be a teacher for the rest of my life, really my plan is a win-win either way.
So that’s me in a nutshell. I hope this was helpful in getting to know me. If you have any questions just comment and I will try my best to answer them. Thank you 🙂