Meet Emily Arnold, an inspiring and talented Ontario Tech alumna who is sharing her Ontario Tech story. She proffers great advice for current and prospective students through her own struggles and how she overcame them all as a student.
Tell me a bit about yourself.
My name is Emily Arnold, I am 23 years old, and I’m from Prince Edward County, Ontario. I began my studies at Ontario Tech University (OTU) in September of 2015, majoring in Kinesiology, and I finished my degree in December of 2019.
Presenting Emily Arnold!
What made you choose Ontario Tech University?
After high school, I didn’t end up going off to school right away because I am very much a homebody and really wasn’t sure about what I wanted to do yet. When I applied to school, I applied to Trent University, Brock University and Ontario Tech University. I toured all three schools and although it sounds cliché, I knew OTU was the place for me! The faculty here is amazing, it was far enough from home that I got to experience living independently, but also close enough that I could go home to Mom anytime if I needed to. I also have family in the area.
What are some of your favourite memories from Ontario Tech University?
I have many awesome memories from Ontario Tech but those wouldn’t be possible without the friendships I have gained here. My roommate from residence and the first pal I made at orientation have become two of my best friends.
Emily competing in her very first power-lifting competition in September 2019.
What were some challenges you faced at Ontario Tech University?
During my first year of university, I lost a friend to suicide. I had lost loved ones in the past but nothing prepares you for the grief you feel when someone takes their own life. I couldn’t focus, I dropped half of my course load and was convinced I’d have to drop out school. At the time, taking a 5th year seemed like failure to me and I felt like I was so behind in life already. I am very blessed to be surrounded by such incredibly supportive friends and family that push me to be my best self and accept me always.
At the time I didn’t seek any resources on campus besides speaking to my academic advisor who was able to give me some advice and reassure me that it was perfectly okay if I didn’t finish my degree in 4 years. She provided me with information about resources on campus and offered suggestions on how to rearrange my time table. With her help, I was able to graduate in 4.5 years!
Emily and her siblings, Michaela and Justin, who are her closest friends and greatest supports in life.
What have you been doing since completing your program at Ontario Tech University?
I just finished my degree in December and have been very lucky in terms of finding employment that I love! I am a personal trainer at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Centre, also known as the Flex Centre. I also work part-time for company called FlexAFit which has allowed me to put my passion for the sport of figure skating and fitness together. At FlexAFit I teach off-ice, jump technique, and flexibility, while working on strength and conditioning with different figure skaters and clubs across the Greater Toronto Area.
What advice would you give to prospective students of Ontario Tech University?
1. Feeling unsure or uncomfortable is normal.
Try to get comfortable feeling this way! Sometimes these uncomfortable situations are the times during university that you gain and grow the most.
2. Stay on top of your school work.
It is way easier said than done but, this will save you oodles of stress and meltdowns when midterms and finals approach!
3. Look after yourself first.
It’s okay if you don’t finish your degree on time. I know that can be hard to swallow but it will all work out, trust me. If you’re not well, it’s difficult to do well. So make sure you put your health first and try not to be so hard on yourself.