Robyn Barlow – Bachelor of Education

University of New Brunswick

When things got really tough I just had to tell myself I can do this and move on…

I am graduating from the University of New Brunswick with a Bachelor of Education. I started this degree in 2006, doing courses part time. I recently completed the last 12 credit hours in Fredericton this past fall. I felt that I could only do this degree part time because I didn’t want to take much time away from my children as they were very young when I began. My children were ages 1, 2 and 5 when I started and I was 26 years old at that time.

I decided to go to school then because I felt that I needed to be an example to my children, so they could see that this is what was expected of them when they grow up. Over the years, I realized that I became an example to the youth, especially young uneducated mothers. I was not only doing this for myself and my children but for the good of the whole community.
There were definite challenges during this degree such as summers away from my children, missing my sons’ birthday on a few occasions, and worrying about childcare at times. The last stretch when I moved by myself to Fredericton and left my husband at home with the children was definitely the hardest part.

When things got really tough I just had to tell myself I can do this and move on. Giving up was not an option for me. I had too much time and effort in this degree and I know I would never forgive myself if I didn’t finish. My role models are definitely my parents, especially my mom whom I started this degree with. There were times she pushed me when I needed it and she was always there for me as was my dad and my husband Nikiea. Without them I don’t think I could have done it.

Some advice I have to give to other First Nation people is just go to school and don’t depend on the Band for a career and a future. Take control of your own life and your own future. Encourage others and don’t sabotage yourself. Don’t be afraid of the unknown, face it head on.