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Students ahead of the class

Chemainus Secondary seniors experiencing university life while in Grade 12

A group of 10 Chemainus Secondary students are getting a taste of university life.

The senior students are currently enrolled in university classes at Vancouver Island University’s Cowichan Campus while completing their final year of school.

The students — Samantha Allan in criminology; Breanna Mitchell, psychology; Nicole Macwatt, English, public speaking; Daniella Loscerbo, English; Scott Bocking, English; Krista Doumont, introduction to social work; Jessica Deeble, psychology, Denay Shelling,English; Chelsea Eaglestone-April, literature and culture, communications and public speaking; and Micayla Bauerstock, psychology — say the benefits and challenges are plenty.

“It gets you ahead of the game,” said Shelling, referring to applying for colleges and universities after high school.

Doumont pointed out taking university courses early allows students to explore interests.

“It’s a great way to try something and if you don’t like it you didn’t spend all this money,” she said.

“It’s a good way to get a taste of university,” said Bocking of going to the classes. The students sit in on the classes to get the full experience.

Most of the students said they are not struggling trying to juggle the extra classes in what is a busy year of school and noted staying organized is key to getting through it. The students are also given a spare in their high school schedule.

Others are learning a hard lesson in prioritizing, with Shelling pointing out some of her tests fall around each other.

The students said being in university is a different environment as the students there want to learn and are passionate about their subjects.

The students all said they would recommend the classes to younger students, noting even for those who do not know what field they want to enter, it offers the chance to tackle some courses required for graduation.

“You have to be motivated,” said Deeble. Procrastination does not serve students in the program well, she added.

“It’s something you do because you want to, not because you have to,” said Doumont.

Getting the work done in high school can also take some of the stress off of the first year of college or university, said Macwatt.

Barb Stoochnoff, counsellor at Chemainus Secondary, said working with VIU has been great as the school even delays some of the classes’ start dates to better line up with the high school curriculum.

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