The power of starting over< More Stories
"When you're trying to drag people out on a stretcher that has no wheels, it can be physically demanding, especially after doing it for years. The physical demands of the job took a toll on my body,” Smith says.
When the corporal was discharged from service, Smith sought another avenue to serve people.
“The transition period was challenging. The career I’ve had since 2001 was one I couldn't do it anymore, but I’m thankful the military gives you the time to transition. I was probably at Plan Z by the time I tried to settle for another career.”
It was during her transition that Smith came across Lakeland’s Program Preview, a document that highlights the college’s full-time programming. She says it was an aligning moment and decided to attend Lakeland’s Open House event in 2018.
Impressed with what she saw, Smith discovered how to begin again through Lakeland’s administrative professional program. Smith was equally excited and prepared for this new career path. Smith explains she gained some administrative experience near the end of her military career working in the recruitment office.
“I learned a lot of office skills and I was good at it. I thought about branching off and pursuing it full-time. It’s something that’s not physically demanding.”
Smith says Lakeland provided numerous opportunities for her to put her education into action, such as the Inspiring Womens' Conference by KT&CO in Lloydminster. She explains it was a significant collaboration that allowed her to take charge of the trade booths, as well as greeting guests in the morning and introducing a speaker for one of the breakout sessions.
“The program has been good at integrating what we learn in the classroom to real life. I had community projects in the social media marketing course, and others in the office procedures course. Learning the material is one thing, but applying it, then problem-solving and seeing the results is wonderful.”
Smith adds the real-life experiences helped her develop interpersonal skills such as communicating with various personalities in person and on social media, as well as teamwork and responsibility.
She also participated in Synergy Speakers’ Corner, a college extracurricular initiative that helps students develop their public speaking skills, as well as college-wide activities such as yoga and mindfulness training.
With her Lakeland experience, Smith says she has plans to work in the museum and travel industry in Barkerviller, B.C., near Bowron Lake Provincial Park, where she and her husband live.
“I still have a passion for working with people. I just found a different outlet for it.”