This Student Ambassador helped people find their place at Douglas – and so could you!
If you’re a student at Douglas College, there’s a good chance a Student Ambassador encouraged you to enrol here. It might not have been face-to-face, but Student Ambassadors support the Future Students’ Office (FSO) in running recruitment events, sharing what it’s like to attend Douglas and highlighting the doors it opens. And right now, you have the chance to join the next crop of student leaders.
Patrick Sheepwash became an Ambassador halfway through his first year, and his experience as a guide to prospective students made his own college years unforgettable. Read our Q&A with Patrick for an insider’s account of life as a Student Ambassador – and find out why the program might be a great fit for you.
What first got you interested in becoming a Student Ambassador?
A couple of months into my second semester, I was invited to go with one of my science instructors to a gathering for prospective Science and Technology students at Science World. I had a blast talking about Douglas, why I chose Douglas, my classes and what I’d learned so far.
I was pretty much doing a Student Ambassador’s job there, but I didn’t know about the program yet. And Susan Oesterle, the Associate Dean of Science, came and asked me, “Hey, are you a Student Ambassador?” She told me to apply for the program, and that I’d be really well suited for it. So I looked into it, applied and got in.
What is the application process like?
You have to fill out an application. And you need to meet a few different requirements, stuff like GPA and whatnot. They don’t want you to prioritize being a Student Ambassador over your grades or anything like that.
The interview is actually really fun. The FSO brings all the applicants together with their staff and some current ambassadors. They mix formal one-on-one questions with big group activities. The team designs it that way to see how you interact with people in different scenarios.
Read more: Staying connected during a pandemic: my Student Ambassador experience
What was your favourite part of being an Ambassador?
High school visits were so much fun. You go with someone from the FSO to schools and talk to the students about Douglas, mostly grade 11s and 12s. A lot of the time, it’s a big open-house deal where other colleges and universities visit on the same day. In that case, you’re setting up a table and letting interested students come to you.
Besides school visits, Student Ambassadors also help out with information sessions, campus tours and a lot more. I loved working in such a tight-knit team; every event I took part in was a group effort.
What did you talk about the most with prospective students?
I made a lot of mistakes in my first year as a student, and I’ve always been open about that, especially with new students. It helps them prepare for what lies ahead and to fill in gaps and clear up misconceptions.
For example, I always heard that going into college, a student with a 90 percent average should expect to drop to an 80 percent average. But this isn’t totally true. I actually think I do a lot better in my courses now than I did in high school.
Read more: Have fun and build valuable skills this Fall with the Student Ambassadors
How did the Student Ambassador role shape your time at Douglas?
Very positively. It can be daunting coming from high school to college, a bigger place with more people. If you just go to your classes, you don’t really get to explore everything the College has to offer. Even if you don’t end up using a lot of those resources, it’s still nice to know where everything is. Joining the Student Ambassadors meant doing campus tours, seeing many of our programs in action firsthand and meeting the coordinators who make it all happen, all while making tons of friends in the program.
At this point, if I came back here in 10 years, I’d still know where things are! It made me appreciate the scope of what Douglas does. That in turn gave me a sense of familiarity, comfort and, ultimately, confidence.
What are the most valuable skills you developed through the Ambassador program?
The program takes what you have and really expands on it, mainly leadership, communication and interview skills. Communication resonates the most with me, in terms of projecting a professional image, understanding decorum and learning how to speak to various types of people. Throughout your time as an ambassador, you’re constantly talking to people of different ages, different academic situations, different industries, different backgrounds.
What’s your advice for someone who wants to become a Student Ambassador?
I definitely encourage it! It makes you more confident and gives you a reason to be excited for school. It’s a chance to further yourself, a chance to help build community, and a chance to find mentors and tools to help you achieve your long-term goals.
You do want to be mindful of your time, especially if you have both school and a job. But as much of a commitment as it may be, it’s such a worthwhile one. Programs like this are what give you the college experience you want.
Want to become a Student Ambassador? Start now: https://www.douglascollege.ca/student-services/student-life/student-leadership/become-student-ambassador