Ximena Paredes knows first-hand the difference a proper support system can make in someone’s life.
The first-year Psychology student is a firm believer that a person’s well-being is deeply dependent on their mental health, and she hopes to someday be a helping hand to provide guidance on a path to wellness.
She took the first step in that journey in September, when she began studying online at Brock from her home in Querétaro, Mexico. While virtual schooling came with its challenges, the support she’s found among the University community has helped to keep her motivated.
Impressed by the number of co-op opportunities available in the Psychology program, Paredes felt an immediate connection to Brock.
“The idea of being able to work during university without it intervening with your studies is not something we have in Mexico,” Paredes said, adding she was thankful to find a program that would allow her to pursue her interests in the field.
An aspiring psychotherapist, Paredes hopes to research human behaviour during her studies and through her co-op opportunities.
“I want to understand how culture, sex, gender and development play fundamental roles in our behaviour and the development of our personality,” she said.
Paredes speaks highly of the support and accessibility the University provides its students and countless opportunities to get involved academically, socially and professionally.
She’s already joined the Brock University Volunteer Association, the Brock Leaders Citizenship Society and the Global Peers’ program.
“I have been able to connect with a community that is open-minded and caring,” she said. “It has been rewarding to see through them that passion can allow you to move mountains.”
Although she’s now found her stride, Paredes faced some obstacles while starting her degree as she became accustomed to the structure of online learning.
“My time management skills had to significantly improve,” she said. “I was able to adjust and now I find most of my classes not only interesting and challenging but also manageable.”
She commended her professors for the work they’ve done to move courses online throughout the pandemic, offering particular praise to Tanya Martini, who teaches the introductory Psychology course PSYCH 1F90.
“She’s a brilliant professor whose knowledge is transmitted to students through interesting and meaningful activities and connections,” Paredes said.
Although Paredes knows the path she’d like to take, Martini, who is also the interim Chair for the Department of Psychology, said the Psychology program is also a great option for students who are unsure about a career direction.
“It really keeps a lot of doors open and our department is very committed to helping students prepare for life after graduation,” she said. “For example, we have a career development course in second year with practical assignments and an experiential education component that helps build the skills they might need in their career.”