Bringing home powerful change

How Hayley made an impact in her hometown

People helping people

I come from a small, tight-knit town in northern Ontario. So, when choosing a university, it was important to me that the community felt similar. I definitely had that with the University of Waterloo.

While looking at university programs, I was searching for a program that could help me achieve my goal of working in a health profession. I wanted to help as many people as possible, and I believed that the health care industry would give me that opportunity.

I had an idea of what I wanted to do, but I wasn’t 100 percent sure – so I chose Honours Science.

Honours Science gave me flexibility to study chemistry and biology (in case I wanted to become a pharmacist, like one of my friends back home) as well as physiology, as I had an interest in how the human body works.

A flexible program during a time of discovery 

Honours Science was the best choice I could have made. It offered a core set of science courses that gave me the foundation I needed to pursue health care, but also had loads of electives so that I could discover other topics I was passionate about. One of these subjects was Sexuality, Marriage, and Family Studies. I fell in love with this unique program, to the point where I took further courses in family studies, sexual education, and women’s studies.

As I continued through my degree, I started to put more and more emphasis on the human side of my studies.

Finally, a guest lecturer introduced me to midwifery and I knew I’d found my calling.

I started customizing my courses and projects to align with my goal of becoming a midwife. I created an online blog for one of my classes, focusing on the sexual health of marginalized communities, like those I lived close to back home.

With my course load being so flexible, I was also able to pursue many other certifications, such becoming a lactation consultant and getting my neonatal resuscitation certificate.

I realized there was a gap in services for northern communities and wanted to influence change in the pre- and (especially) post-natal care.

Bringing it all back home 

When I shifted my focus from general health care to midwifery, I did so with the intention of going back and helping those in my home town. I realized there was a gap in services for northern communities and wanted to influence change in the pre- and (especially) post-natal care.

This would include breast-feeding services, understanding post-partum depression, and helping clients make their transition into motherhood easier and safer.

Using this ideal as the background to my application, I have now been accepted into a midwifery program. I really believe that Waterloo has positively influenced my career goals and my ability to achieve those goals.

I am very excited to start on the next part of my journey, to go beyond, and start a career in helping others and “catching babies.”