A Branching Path: A University Student’s Future

February 10, 2023 4 min read

Approximately one year ago, Aidan Lane (’21) spent his days in Northern Alberta, working in the oil and gas industry. His daily checklist included pump inspections, maintenance, and moving 200-pound pipes into the proper position for his crew. On top of that, he dealt with freezing temperatures while being away from home for two weeks at a time.

Aidan had a tough job, hopping from town to town for different projects. If you ask him, he feels the experience was worth it for two reasons—it reminded him he wanted to go to university, and he saved enough to cover his post-secondary tuition.

Now in his second semester of an engineering degree at the University of Victoria (UVic), Aidan reflects on his time spent at Calgary Academy and what he has planned for his future.

Eight Years at CA

Aidan joined Calgary Academy in Grade 4, having struggled in school up until that point. He was reading several grades below his level and needed a more supportive environment.

Dyslexia and ADHD made school difficult, but the support of Aidan’s teachers helped him catch up on his learning within two to three years. CA was different than Aidan’s old school. The school’s use of technology and frequent review of classroom topics benefitted his learning.

“The big thing I noticed was that Calgary Academy had a lot more technology. They helped me more. They did a great job of refreshing me on lessons I’d forgotten from past years.”

As Aidan caught up in his learning, he began to excel in school, eventually receiving the Marion Sutherland Award for overcoming severe learning differences. The longer Aidan spent at CA, the more confident he grew. He notes that the school made him feel more sure of his abilities, which has helped at UVic.

“Calgary Academy absolutely helped me. One of my biggest struggles throughout school has been confidence in myself. It’s not that I don’t have the learning ability—it’s me overthinking something that gets me.” – Aidan

Before Aidan began his gap year up north, he experienced one of his favourite CA memories. The final days of the school year brought a challenge to the senior class, with a juicy reward—smashing teachers with whipped cream pie sheets. After Aidan’s team won, the teachers lined up, and he got to thwack one of his teachers, Ms. Rorison, right in the face.

Looking Forward

Currently in his first year of post-secondary, Aidan has a lot of schooling ahead of him. He chose engineering, a notoriously difficult degree, because of his interest in machines and their interlinking parts.

“I’ve always been interested in machines and learning how they work, how they’re built, and how they actually function.” – Aidan

While the workload is high for his degree, Aidan found the transition not too hard. After setting up his school supports, he receives the same assistive technology he used at Calgary Academy. This tech has been helpful, especially during exam season, with screen readers and the ability to request classroom notes.

Aidan is interested to see where engineering can take him in his career. With several years left in his degree, he’s keeping the next page of his story blank. He may enter the workforce immediately or eventually get his master’s degree.

Besides his classes, Aidan must complete four work terms, which he plans to use as a way to try out different fields and see what interests him.

“I have a rough idea of what I want to do in my career. I plan to complete my work terms, go to different sectors, and see what I like.” – Aidan

No matter where post-secondary takes Aidan, he’s keeping his mind open to different possibilities. In the meantime, he’s grateful for his past experiences, in his gap year and at CA, for how they’ve prepared him for his current journey.