by Kharoll-Ann Souffrant
In less than a month, I will begin my adventure as a new student in the program of social work at McGill University. Even though I own a previous degree (a Diplôme d’Études Collégiales, as we call it in Quebec) in Youth and Adult Correctional Intervention, I am somewhat nervous.
I am nervous because deciding to attend McGill University is a risk for me. It isn’t the easiest path. I have also been accepted into Université de Montreal, which is a francophone institution also located in Montreal, Canada. But I spent weeks worrying about where I should go, what was the best option for me, and if it would be too hard. I was emerged in doubt. I didn’t know if I would be good enough.
First of all, as you might have not already noticed, I am a francophone student. I was born and raised in Montreal, and my parents are both from Haiti. I have never ever studied in an institution where the entire teaching was done in English. Even if I have a good knowledge of the language – that I learned mostly through television and my favorite songs – I do believe that it is one thing to chit-chat with your friends in English, and another to attend classes entirely in English and to understand everything that is explained in a professional and high-standing language. I know that from the very start, my writing and speaking wouldn’t be perfect or nearly as equivalent as my writing and speaking in my mother tongue that I love.
Despite this fact, I still decided to give McGill a shot. Why? Because I have been taught that in life, in order to build your self-esteem and personal confidence, you must be ready to go out of your comfort zone. You must be ready to explore unusual roads and to challenge yourself with good choices, but less comfortable choices. It is the only way to improve and to get better. It is the best way to grow. And I want to be the best as possible.
This isn’t about being in competition with others, but only with a healthy competition with myself. I want to see how far I can go and how proud of myself I will be when I will make the achievement of getting my diploma and becoming a social worker. And I do believe that at the moment I will believe that I am perfect, I will stop being helpful to other people. A social worker should always keep that in mind, in my humble opinion. More and more, every time a situation scares me, I jump right into it, because I know it means that I have something to learn from it. And that is part of the beauty of the complexity of life.
So here I am, filled with dreams and hopes for the future. I feel so stimulated by the people, the institution, and this job that I already fell in love with. (I’ve worked with families of youth protection and children victims of domestic violence before.) I know I will learn as much as possible, because there is so much I want to achieve over the years. I feel this is only the beginning of a very fulfilling and satisfying road on so many levels.
Kharoll-Ann Souffrant is a counselor and a BSW student at McGill University, located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.