Pacific Rim Foundation

Update from Heather Morrison: 2016 Recipient

May 1, 2017

I did it! I have completed my first year of university and what a year it has been.

This past semester I took five courses and three labs, which meant I found myself quite busy. There was even a week I had five midterms in 2 days and another with four in three. Surprisingly, other than those few crazy weeks, the semester didn’t seem too bad. I still had time to exercise and occasionally spend time with friends.

Over the course of both semesters I took Anatomy and Physiology; a core course for both the nursing and midwifery programs. It is a notorious class for the nurses as many people fail and some even drop out of the program because of it. While it was certainly challenging at times, I was quite proud of myself for completing both sections of the course with higher than average grades. My grade also improved in the second semester showing me that I was improving as a student.

I was excited that in the second semester I had two midwifery courses with labs. I felt that we were beginning to build a foundation of knowledge related to midwifery. Health Assessment, one of the courses, was an overview of the physical health assessment and medical history taking that Midwives must do. We also began to learn the basics of doing blood draws, intramuscular injections and starting intravenous drips. It makes being a midwife seem more real. The second course was Lab Sciences, which explained the mechanics of many pathological conditions that can occur during pregnancy, as well as physiologic changes that occur.

This spring I am taking two online courses. I am so fortunate that I am able to be at home with my family while doing so. Otherwise I would have had to remain in Calgary until the end of June. I am taking these courses because to finish my degree in four years I have to take spring courses. Preceptorships start in the winter semester of second year, which is only eight months away for me now! A preceptorship is when students are assigned a midwife whom they work with for the semester. With preceptorships students also simultaneously take a course, however they cannot be taking a full course load. This is why we are required to take some courses during spring.

It is hard to believe how fast the last eight months has gone by. I cannot imagine how quickly the next three years will pass if I am already so far along in my program. At the end of my first year I am certainly ready to spend some time back on the West Coast, close to the ocean. 

January 1, 2017

I hope this new year finds you well! I have just requested my official transcript from my institution, I expect it to reach you by mail within the next week. It will arrive at the Tofino Post Office box 495. If it doesn't please let me know and I will follow up with Mount Royal.

I have attached proof of registration and payment for the upcoming Winter Term. I am finding it difficult to find an official receipt as I pay my tuition through online banking. If the document I have attached is not sufficient please let me know and I will speak with administration for assistance in the matter.

Now for an update on my first semester as a university student:

Four months ago today I left Ucluelet to travel to Calgary, where I would begin school at Mount Royal University. My transition from a small coastal town to a large city in an interior province went quite smoothly. I was so lucky to have my older sister with me in Calgary, always willing to support or guide me through new experiences. I discovered a new found love for grocery shopping and the ability to plan my own menu.

Starting school was at first quite intimidating. Mount Royal University was a college not long ago, so in terms of the average university it's actually quite small. For me though, transitioning from Ucluelet Secondary, a school of 140 students, to Mount Royal with around 12,000 students it was a big change. However, I quickly settled into a routine and began to find my way around campus. Throughout the semester I was constantly searching for new quiet places that have an outlet for my laptop! This is harder than you would think, especially in the afternoon on a weekday.

On my first day I met the other 11 women in my year of the Midwifery program. The ages of these women ranged from 20-40, leaving me far behind at 17. This semester, A Survey of Midwifery was the only course I had with all of my cohort. This course introduced midwifery as a profession and it's basic principles. It was so exciting to engage in lively conversation with a group of women equally passionate about midwifery!

Many of the courses that I took this previous semester were not directly related to midwifery. Sometimes I would find myself wondering "how on earth will this be useful to me as a Midwife?!" I actually began to create a game out of it, creating scenarios where the information I was learning would be useful in my profession. It made studying more fun.

To keep some balance in my life, I have taken up climbing. Mount Royal has a very good climbing and bouldering gym. I was ecstatic to discover that one of the women in my year enjoys climbing and has lots of experience. She also just happens to be from Victoria, an islander! We started meeting once or twice every week to go climbing.

Next semester, I get to start learning practical midwifery skills. I couldn't be more excited! This program moves quickly. A year from now I will be preparing to head out on my first placement. I will be assigned a midwife whom I will follow and learn from for the semester; I could be placed anywhere in Alberta! Unlike medical school this program doesn't provide any bursaries or grants to help defray the cost of placements. Students are expected to find and pay for their own accommodations in the region of their placement, as well as all other related costs.

Receiving the Pacific Rim Foundation scholarship will make it possible for me to apply to placements in rural areas. This is important to me, as I am hoping to return to the west coast to set up a practice that provides care to Ucluelet, Tofino and the surrounding communities.

My journey has only just begun.

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