Learning close to home improves college experience for mature student
December 20, 2021

Born and raised in Barrie, mature student Nicole St. Pierre didn’t have to travel far to get a great education, which allowed her to return to college without uprooting her family. She’s currently completing the one-year Human Resources Management graduate certificate at the Barrie Campus.

How have you benefitted from learning close to home?

Being able to learn close to home means I don’t have to relocate my family. I already have a life in Barrie, and my husband has a job here, so we didn’t have to leave that behind for school. Being able to choose a great program that was offered close to home and remotely during the pandemic allowed me stay employed and keep my existing social networks in place.

Why did you choose Georgian?

I completed my undergraduate degree at Laurentian at Georgian. It felt natural to return to the college for another program, was an easy adjustment, and honestly felt like coming home.  

How did remote learning impact your experience?

I was incredibly anxious about remote learning, initially. I thought the experience would be too challenging and too different from my earlier in-person learning experience. It turned out to be a great balance though, attending classes online and doing readings and projects remotely. The professors were always accessible and offer help when I needed it. I was also able to access student services online too, so that was a great help. In fact, I made more connections with different kinds of people than I feel I would have just in person because it helped improve communication and collaboration.

What are you learning on your co-op?

I was so happy there was a co-op available at the college and that I’m able to gain work skills with a local employer while still in school! I love my co-op position as a domestic student recruitment specialist and reaching out to potential students and assisting them in their own postsecondary journey.

Stepping into any new role is hard, especially as a mature student, but I work with a great team and found the skills I learned in my previous work experiences and Georgian programs were transferable. All the people I’ve met, and continue to meet, at Georgian have been very influential in my growth and who I want to be as a person and a professional when I graduate.

Mature student Nicole St. Pierre

How has co-op improved your confidence and ability to succeed?

It’s really improved my ability to believe in myself and pivot when I need to, partly because of the pandemic. Showing up as yourself and not being afraid to ask questions or share ideas is sometimes hard in a  new role, but having people who listen to my ideas and truly appreciate them is emboldening. It’s been a  great way to share my passion for Georgian while recruiting new students and sharing information.

What are your long-term goals and ambitions?

Georgian is Canada’s first and only changemaker college, so I’ve been inspired to make a difference and create change somehow. I don’t know what that looks like right now, but I believe every person has the power to make a difference and should harness that power. If I can do that in some small way every day, and live life with passion, then I’ll have made an impact.


  1. Financial – save money on housing costs by living at home.
  2. Comforts of home – enjoy home-cooked meals, sleeping in your own bed, and having in-home laundry facilities.
  3. Make new friends – build on your social network by making new connections with people you meet online and in person at college.
  4. Keep your job – you (or your partner) don’t have to start new jobs.
  5. Get to know local employers you want to work for – if you like your hometown and want to live there when you’re done school, you can start to find the right employer during your co-op placements, like Nicole did!