TRURO-You can fight through stress to achieve great things in life, the deputy minister of Labour and Advanced Education advises Nova Scotia Community College students in Truro.
Deputy Minister of Labour and Advanced Education Sandra McKenzie was the keynote speaker at the 2014 Office Administration Conference in Truro on Thursday. Gwydion Morris photo.
In her keynote address to NSCC students on Thursday, Sandra McKenzie said she liked the Choose Your Own Adventure theme of the 2014 office administration conference because that’s exactly what you can do in life. She crossed the college graduation stage at 38 even after being pregnant five times during college.
“You have to believe that you can do anything,” McKenzie said. “Your adventure is starting today.”
Finding alone time is crucial to keeping yourself sane and relaxed, McKenzie said to the group of about 150 students. She added taking 10 minutes in the car on the way to work to mentally check in on yourself or reading a book is key to being happy.
“Make sure you’re taking care of yourself,” she said. “Find time to go for a walk.”
If you’re faced with a stressful situation, laughter is the best way to deal with it, McKenzie said. The moment will pass and you’ll be able to look back on it later.
“You have to be able to tell the stories later on and laugh about them.”
Taking care of yourself and your health is another step to a good life, especially because your loved ones don’t want to lose you, McKenzie added.
“The people who count on you want you to be around for a long time.”
McKenzie told students not to be like Statler and Waldorf from The Muppets, as they’re constantly criticizing things from their balcony.
“If that’s all you do in life, then you’ll also be stuck in that same balcony for the rest of your life,” she said.
While it didn’t necessarily have to be religion or some other belief, McKenzie said it’s important to find something bigger than yourself to believe in. Or when you’re troubled, remember some women in Africa have to walk five kilometers a day to collect water.
“Find something that reminds you you’re part of a bigger world.”
McKenzie’s presentation really touched NSCC business student Holly Patterson, who thought it was incredible.
“I loved her off-the-cuff remarks,” Patterson said.
She could relate to McKenzie going back to school as a mature student as Patterson returned to school at age 28.
“It spoke to me in a nice way.”
With two or three weeks left before graduation, McKenzie’s talk couldn’t have come at a better time as stress is high when you’re so close to the finish line, said Patterson. Any mistake made seems monumental, she added.
“I stress about them a lot.”
The 2014 office administration conference dealt with issues related to office administration to give NSCC business students a glimpse into the field. Students from 13 provincial NSCC campuses attended. The conference also featured other speakers from Nova Scotia businesses.