Zoe goes to work each day excited.
She marvels at how lucky she is to work with people, helping them find their way in life in her role as a Vocational Counsellor for Canadian Mental Health in Nelson, but Zoe didn’t always see her future so brightly.
Zoe’s turning point came ten years ago when she enrolled in the Adult Basic Education (ABE) program in the School of Academic Upgrading and Development at Selkirk College.
After leaving high school in grade twelve, Zoe spent five years not being sure what she wanted, let alone how she would get it--high school hadn’t been easy and she wasn’t sure if she could do more schooling. After some thought, Zoe decided to try a different kind of education and came to ABE in Nelson, where she signed up for a College Success class.
In class, Zoe discovered a passion for working with people and began to lay out a pathway to become a teacher. Zoe knew it would be a long path, as her Math and English skills were not yet ready for university level courses, but in College Success, she had explored motivation, how to stay on track, and had picked up some solid study skills.
Facing her fears of math, Zoe signed up to upgrade her math and English. She found ABE classes were small and casual and let her learn in her own way. Coming to school as an adult was quite different, and she surprised herself with A’s and B’s. Zoe felt supported, saying, “The instructors really cared about my success.”
The fact that ABE is free let Zoe upgrade two levels of both math and English before moving on to two years in the University Arts and Sciences program at Selkirk’s Castlegar campus and two years at Thompson Rivers University to achieve a BA in English. She said, “I was so well prepared after upgrading in ABE. I enjoyed my University courses, and I was really happy with my grades.”
As it turns out, Zoe didn’t go on to teaching but instead returned to Selkirk College to complete the Classroom and Community Support Worker program, which prepared her for counselling work.
Zoe’s story is a great model for heading back to school, something many adults are considering this fall. ABE is available at the Castlegar, Grand Forks, Kaslo, Nakusp, Nelson, and Trail centres, where adults can study math, English, biology, chemistry, physics, computer studies, and social studies on their own or with an instructor. ABE helps adults upgrade specific courses, increase their confidence in their ability to learn, and be better prepared for work, life or post secondary studies.
The School of Academic Upgrading and Development also has partnerships with Essential Skills and Literacy programs and a program in Adult Special Education, which helps adults with disabilities become more independent.
To start in ABE requires only a phone call to the center nearest to you or an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. More information is available on our website or by calling 250-352-6601, ext. 216.
First published on August 30, 2011