It’s an achievement that that would not have been possible a few short years ago, but thanks to his perseverance and support from his NIC instructors, he has been accepted into NIC’s Bachelor of Business Administration, Marketing major program and is slated to begin studies in January 2021.
“It’s hard to believe that I’ve made it,” said Gus. “I couldn’t have done it without the support and encouragement I got at NIC.”
Gus decided to make a change as he was working the latest of many service industry jobs he’d taken since dropping out of high school.
“I was just was really, really bored,” he said. “And I decided, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore.’”
Gus mulled a career in trades or construction. Unsure of what to do, he consulted with friend, mentor and NIC Aboriginal advisor Luke George, who suggested he start by earning his missing English and math credits to finish his high school diploma and then pursue a degree.
For Gus, it’s a moment he will never forget.
“It was pretty empowering to have someone tell you that you can do something when for the past 10 years it seemed impossible,” he said. “It was like a light switched on but there was still a lot of uncertainty. Was it going to be worth it?”
Gus enrolled in upgrading courses, but the transition back to school wasn’t smooth. He was unable to complete the English course on time and failed his first math exam.
“I was prepared to drop math,” he said. “But my instructor said, ‘Nope, see you Monday.’”
When he was unable to finish his English 11 equivalent, his new instructor allowed him to build on his previous work in the course for his second attempt.
“Each one of them had a big hand in my success,” Gus said. “They did not let me fail. That was not an option.”
Gus has now earned his English 12 credit, as well as Math 11. He will finish his final math credit in January and earn his high school diploma as part of his first-year business courses at NIC.
It’s a far cry from the road he might have taken.
“It’s easy to get complacent, to not be happy with what you’re doing but to convince yourself this is all you can do,” said Gus. “It was hard to take that first step, but it’s worth it.”
Gus said encouragement from his mother Agnes and grandmother Margaret was also key to his success.
“I would be remiss if I didn't give credit to them,” he said. “The choice to go back to school would not have been so easy without their continued support.”
For other students, Gus’ advice is simple.
“There’s support for you at NIC. Sign up. Finish your courses. Don’t give up."
To learn more about upgrading options and Fall 2020 courses, visit www.nic.bc.ca/upgrading.