Embarking on an educational journey takes a large dose of determination to be successful. Pushing off on a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing pathway as a single mom with a three-year-old daughter requires resolve and courage.

First-year Nursing Program student Meghan Stewart made the decision to return to school at the age of 39 because she wanted a fulfilling career that would also provide a brighter future for her daughter Ruby.

“There were times in the first semester that I would be crying into the noodles I was making my daughter for dinner,” Meghan says of the stress over not only learning, but also the financial challenges of a full-time student. “She would ask me if I needed a hug and a stuffie. Then she would say, ‘don’t worry mom, in a little bit it will get better.’ Because that’s what I say to her when she stubs her toe or skins her knee.”

The wisdom of her three-year-old daughter was realized late in the first semester when Meghan received an email from the Selkirk College Financial Aid Department informing her that she would receive the Columbia Basin Trust Bursary and two others. Already exceeding her own expectations on the educational side of the equation, the financial stress has been eased through the kindness of donors.

“We learned a lot in the first semester about the social determinants of health and how there are varying factors that create vulnerability to illness and disease,” she says. “Areas of your life like employment, job security, working conditions, food security, social inclusion, income… donors are actually contributing to a person’s holistic health. Is there a greater gift than that?”

Heartened by the support of others, Meghan’s boldness to overcome the challenges that lay ahead is even stronger than when she started.

“Nothing happens fast, the road is long. The best things in life don’t come quickly and easily. This journey is going to show my daughter what courage and determination look like. You can’t tell people, you have to show them, so they can watch you go through it.”

Each year, the Trust provides $94,000 in bursaries to students at Selkirk College, College of the Rockies and Okanagan College (Revelstoke Campus).

Read more about Meghan Stewart’s journey.

Story submitted by Bob Hall, Selkirk College.