The Confidence to Pursue Further Education – A Learner Success Story by Shawn Neves

The Confidence to Pursue Further Education – A Learner Success Story by Shawn Neves

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I dropped out of high school in Grade 10, when I was only 17 years old. It was not the smartest thing I could have done, but I thought I knew everything at that point. My parents gave me three options: go back to school, get a job, or move out. I have worked 29 years since that day.

I started work as a stock boy for James F Lahey Glass. During my breaks I’d go to the back room, where the glaziers fixed old wooden windows or newer aluminium ones. I would watch, occasionally asking why they were doing things a certain way. When there was no one around, I’d take a little piece of glass out of the scrap bin and try to cut it. Before long, I was one of the glaziers. I did that for around 12 years.

The past 15 years I have worked for Industrial Cold Milling Ltd. I started at the bottom and worked my way up through the company, the same way I did as a glazier; watching, asking questions, and then doing. It was very hard work with very long hours and I am not getting any younger.

Recently, I decided to go back to school. My girlfriend pushed me to do it. I had procrastinated for 10 years prior. In the winter of 2018, with the help of the Dartmouth Learning Network, I finally earned my GED diploma.

The staff there are amazing, going above and beyond what they need to do to help you succeed.

I liked the evaluation during our first meeting, because it gave me a sense of where I was and where I needed to go. I always had a hard time with English, but my instructor Brent MacPhee showed me a few ways to brainstorm ideas, and that helped immensely with passing my GED writing essay. The Dartmouth Learning Network showed me that I was selling myself short; even though I had been out of school for 29 years, I still had the ability to do well. Talking with the staff gave me the confidence that I could do even more than just pass my GED, and that it was never too late to go back to school.

I am currently attending NSCC and upgrading from my GED to take the Architectural Engineering Technician program in September of 2020. I just finished my first semester of upgrading with a 94% average in my three courses (English 94%, Math 95%, and Physics 94%). The Academic Career Connections program at NSCC has given me the confidence that I can do this, that I am smart enough, and that I did not make a mistake coming back to school. My experience at NSCC has been amazing, and I have never been happier in my entire life. I wish I had done this years ago, but everything happens for a reason. Remember, you are never too old to follow your dreams, you just need to go for it!