Life Transitions: from student to entrepreneur

This week, hundreds of Vancouver Island University students crossed the stage and became graduates. Sitting in Nanaimo’s Port Theatre, I was filled with pride and joy for the many friends and colleagues sitting on stage and in the audience. A thought that frequently crosses my mind was only exemplified during the ceremony: “I am so incredibly happy that I chose to attend VIU”.

Recreation and Tourism Management students celebrate

Recreation and Tourism Management students celebrate

In July of 2011, I packed up my life in Fredericton, New Brunswick to move across the country to a province I had never even visited; to a university I had never heard of before discovering the new Masters of Arts in Sustainable Leisure Management program; and to live on an island that has long been calling my name. When I arrived on the many steps of VIU, I immediately found a community that welcomed me with open minds, hearts, and arms. I immediately felt a connection with my new school and my new home in Nanaimo, and I would like to thank the many people who made that possible, many of whom were present at the June 4th convocation, either in body or spirit.

Since my own convocation in January, I have been transitioning from ‘the student life’ to ‘the entrepreneur life’. I have continued to foster my VIU community and to discover new communities to which I can belong and contribute. Working from home often presents

challenges, the most notable for me, has been a lack of in-person social interactions. My daily leisure activities tend to be solitary: runs with my dog, yoga at home, playing in my garden, and reading. Add to that the reality of living on a limited budget, finding social leisure activities requires some creativity (even for someone with a Masters in leisure!).

So, what I have been up to? I volunteer with a wonderful group of creative, engaging, and all around awesome people, the Nanaimo Design Nerds; Moksha Yoga Nanaimo offers community and karma classes at a discounted rate; and the Young Professionals of Nanaimo is another energetic group of people doing great things (ok- so I haven’t officially joined yet, but I’m working on it!). And of course, now that summer is on the horizon, long days enjoying the beautiful lakes, rivers, and the ocean surrounding Vancouver Island are beckoning me to come for a swim.

Now, six months into this new life of entrepreneurship, I am starting to feel like I’m finding my groove. Life transitions take time, they can be difficult and challenging, but also oh, so rewarding. Whether it’s moving to a new community, starting a new job, retiring, getting married, having babies, and the list goes on, transitioning takes time and adjustment. So, to the class of 2013, I encourage you to embrace this time of change, to reflect on your years as a student, and to look forward to the months and years ahead! And to anyone else experiencing a life transition: I encourage you to make leisure a priority. In tough times, it’s often the first thing we put aside, but in reality, the many benefits of leisure will only enhance the beauty of change.

Yours in celebration,

~ Erin