Six years later and I am less than six months away from graduating with my BScN. Nursing School and university in general has pushed me to great lengths. It’s hard to believe that six years ago I left my hometown to attend the University of Victoria. The past couple months I have been reflecting on my experience moving to a new city right out of high school, leaving my parents behind and learning who I am as a person.

Looking back there are many things I wish I would have known starting university in a new city. If someone could have told me where I would be and how happy I would be when I was finishing university… I would have never believed them.

University was not easy. Throughout my six years of schooling, I have changed programs, found my passion in life, failed a class, lost friends, gained new friends, struggled with anxiety, gained confidence in myself, lost loved ones and patients, taken time off to explore and travel, and met the most inspirational people along the way.

These years have been vulnerable and raw. Although it took me longer to finish my degree and I have now accumulated more student debt than anticipated, I would not change my journey.                    

Anxiety has played a huge role in my life. Over the years I have realized how common anxiety is. Whether it’s my patients in the hospital, friends or family, people suffer from anxiety more than we think. The stress of being a university student can have a major impact on a person’s well-being and exacerbate one’s anxiety.  

If I had to give advice to students who struggle with anxiety I would say you are not alone and do not suffer in silence. There are many resources on campus that I wish I would have accessed earlier in university to help me manage my anxiety, but due to stigma, I was hesitant.

The Centre of Accessible Learning (CAL) is something I wish I signed up for in my first year of post-secondary education. A major barrier for me in my schooling has been test anxiety. Now, I’m not referring to the butterflies one gets before writing an exam. I am talking about anxiety that overwhelms you so much that it debilitates your ability to write the test. No matter how prepared I was for an exam my mark would never reflect what I actually knew. When I signed up with CAL, they were able to make accommodations to help me be more successful in writing exams, such as giving me a quiet place to write with less distractions. After years writing in CAL, I am still shocked at the improvement of my grades.

Barriers that are not openly talked about when registering with CAL is fearing what your peers will think. Negative connotations such as others thinking it is unfair that that when you sign up with CAL you are able to receive extended time to write your exam. What they do not know is that when someone has test anxiety the amount of time it takes them to calm down actually takes away from the time that should be spent writing the exam. Other barriers for people accessing CAL is thinking it will take a long time to get registered. Registration is actually quite an easy process and I would highly recommend booking an appointment at CAL to learn about the process to register. For more information about registering with CAL, visit their website:

Thank you for reading,


The views expressed in this blog are my own, and do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of the University of Victoria. I monitor posts and comments to ensure all content complies with the University of Victoria Guidelines on Blogging.