Brock student finds fresh start in nursing

Logan Michaelson needed a reset.

After wrapping up her high school experience, things did not go to plan. Enrolment at one post-secondary institution ended after only a year, while attempts at taking additional classes were derailed by well-being challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was doing poorly in class and spending most of my time in the basement. It was a really hard time,” she said. “One cold winter day, I’d had enough, and I unenrolled from all of my classes.”

Months went by as Michaelson took time to focus on her well-being, calculate her next steps and rediscover her love of painting.

Through her art, she would eventually collaborate with Brock University Associate Professor of Nursing Sheila O’Keefe-McCarthy on a painting about the pandemic. But the meeting would also lead to some vocational clarity.

“After talking to Sheila, I began to realize that I wanted to be a nurse,” said Michaelson.

However, the tumultuous nature of her post-secondary career to that point posed a hurdle. Though her high school grades had been stellar, Michaelson’s post-secondary transcript was now far below her normal academic standards. She would not have been eligible for admission to Brock’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

Fortunately, it was around this time that Lynn Wells, Brock’s Provost and Vice-President, Academic, spoke to Michaelson about an academic option that could help her realize her nursing dreams — the University’s Fresh Start pathway.

Launched in 2020, the Fresh Start pathway allows Brock to admit students based on their high school records, even if they also have previous post-secondary experience.

Wells said the pathway allows prospective students to figuratively wipe the slate clean of any previous post-secondary experience, allowing them the opportunity to start over in a better position to succeed.

“It is critical that all students are given a fair chance to work towards their future goals while ensuring they are not unduly affected by the circumstances of their past, much of which may have been beyond their control,” she said. “The Fresh Start program is one way in which we help to show our students and community that everyone is welcome here.”

Now in her third year of Brock’s Nursing program, Michaelson has fully embraced the opportunity the pathway has provided for her.

“Being a nurse has become part of my personality,” she said. “I eat, sleep and breathe health care, and I would not have found that purpose without Fresh Start.”

Brock’s Director of Admissions Pauline Dawson said she’s delighted to see Michaelson’s progress in the program.

“It gives students like Logan an opportunity to shine and figure out their path, and that is exactly what she has done,” said Dawson. “We hope others will follow her example and explore the possibilities available to them here at Brock.”

Having overcome the obstacles she faced, Michaelson is thankful for the direction Brock and Fresh Start have provided at a time when she was questioning the very foundation of her identity, and she hopes more people will utilize the program for their own new beginnings.

“I got to the point where even my own name didn’t feel like it was mine, but the one title I really do identify with is ‘nurse.’” she said. “I got to find a profession that defines me and a title that fits me because Brock gave me a second chance, and I hope others are able to do the same.”

To learn more about the Fresh Start pathway, visit the Admissions @ Brock website.

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