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THE END IS HERE!!! A Personal Post About the Past Two Years…

-Okayy… a little bit of a dramatic title… but I felt it was necessary after these two crazy years of college! For anyone who knows me you would know that I cannot stand living the “student life,” I have been counting down the days until I get my diploma! Going back to school was probably one of the many…. “hardest things i’ve ever had to doooos” ….in my life! Full of Excitement, Growth, New Friendships, Knowledge and Ups and MANY Downs – Where do I begin to write about my experience these last two years! I don’t normally share personal things on my blog and let me tell you this is a FIRST! Im going to warn you….. If you know anything about me, I can’t stop talking.. so lets just say I will TRY to keep it short and sweet!

It was only 3 days after a life changing visit to Winnipeg, where I had reunited with my father, that I found myself packing up to move to Edmonton to attend the Photographic Technology program at NAIT. Saying goodbye to so many people and so many things in so little time showed a challenging journey ahead. I remember my mom, sisters, grandparents and myself….. Yep…. 3 vehicles full to the top  driving to Edmonton with my junk! We unloaded at my new humble abode just off of Whyte Ave and soon after eating lunch, I was saying goodbye to everything I have ever known and starting a new chapter in a new BIG city! I forgot to mention! – Much to my surprise… I found out about a month before moving, that a very old friend of mine was living in Edmonton as well. My one and ONLY friend in the city at that moment was Rebecca! Her and her man Leif picked me up almost everyday and after a few days I warmed up to this mans odd and often misunderstood personality! I shared a lot of my first memories with these two in Edmonton! To many to list!

My first day of school started off with a 30 minute bus ride on the number 9.. and for anyone who knows Edmonton… we all swear its the bus with all the crazies! Within the first few days I made a few friends, one of which I call one of my BEST FRIENDS to this day! From that moment on, Kristyn and I were there for each other through EVERYTHING. One of my earliest memories of Kristyn was working with her through some of my first Dark Room assignments and let me tell you….. Being put in a Dark Room for a half an hour  has got to be one of the most incredible ways to get to know and trust someone! (and YES… for all of you that may be wondering the room is PITCH DARK and about the size of a shoe box!) (Not a stupid question, seeing as I thought there would be some sort of fancy lights in there that wouldn’t affect the film!) ( Again any of you that know me I AM TERRIFIED OF THE DARK!) – This was interesting- Although I was starting great new friendships I couldn’t help but be homesick.. I missed my family, I missed my friends Tianna, Amber, Jasmine, the familiar places and faces and of course the small town living I was used to.

After a month into the program I had been sick with the “flu” for over a week. After forcing myself to school for a week and a half and refusing to fall behind in this EXTREMELY fast paced program, my new friend Kirstyn suggested I go to emergency. I hardly remember driving myself to the U of A hospital that morning, I remember almost getting into an accident at a 4 way stop, paying 36 dollars to park, being admitted immediately and shot up like crazy. After all of the not so pretty tests and questions I was told I had a sever case of Mono and a Liver infection. I was told that if I would have waited another week I would have had a liver failure. My then roommate Katie and dear friend Rebecca took turns visiting until my mom arrived from Lloydminster. Eventually sent home with strict instructions on getting back to health I went home with a large bottle or morphine and other pills that cost approximately 120/pill YIKES!. My mom cleaned my apartment, got groceries and babied me all evening until I was feeling a bit better. She then went home and I found myself burnt out on the couch eating a bare perogie my roommates Katie and James gave me to try and keep down. Lets just say that didn’t happen! The next morning Leif drove me to the hospital once again. I looked like a yellow marshmallow to say the least! From their observation I was allergic to the morphine and getting sicker and sicker by the second. I don’t even clearly remember when Rebecca arrived but again she was right by my side and for the second time in two days… my mom drove down but this time wouldn’t go home without me! After being discharged and at home for those 3 weeks, it proved to be one of the most challenging things I had ever gone through! I had a few special visitors and many phone calls and I remember being thankful for having such amazing people in my life! After missing about a month of schooling I worked with one of the most amazing and understanding men I have ever met! Randy our program director knew how bad I wanted this and worked with me to get back on track! Words cannot explain how lucky I was to have this man apart of our program! More importantly I could not have been any luckier to have the friends and family around to get me through this!

Soon after returning to Edmonton, I decided I wanted to move in with Rebecca and Leif considering we spent so much time together anyways. Although I was a useless help with the move, having to nap every four hours, we ( more so rebecca leif and his dad) did it!  My friends and family could not have been more helpful. I would love to list all of the things they had to help me do but this list would be wayyy to long for this post! Just know that I will forever be thankful for you, you know who you are!

I was finally back to school and although our class took a while to warm up to each other… it seemed as though after a lot of the Nutso’s left the program…. we soon began to grow closer and closer as the numbers dropped. Not to be to blunt… but That is How She WEnt!!! After a crazy year of ups and downs outside and within the program, we were finally done our first year and enjoying ourselves at a year end BBQ. This BBQ is what brought us so close together and I will never forget that night!

Summer went by fast and it was hard to say goodbye to Lloydminster once again… but I knew I had great friends waiting for me to come back! The second semester of NAIT was challenging to come back to, after losing Randy to retirement and facing some program issues I remembered thinking…. is this worth it?! I can honestly say if it weren’t for Kristyn I would not have given this last year of schooling a chance! Soon after starting our second year at NAIT Kristyn and I took a liking to “The New Guy” on the Photographic Technology Team; Shaun Scade from Scade Photography. He turned the program around for a lot of us… there are no better words to explain just that! Shaun is a talented, genuine and over all fun guy! His experience an knowledge in Photography is outstanding, he truly taught us how the industry is! He is one of those teachers you will never forget, one of those teachers you look back on and are reminded just how great they are at teaching! His patience and genuine willingness to help hours upon hours does not go unnoticed! Some people are just meant to teach and even teased him about his extremely hilarious hiccups he is just one of those guys who is MEANT to teach! Speaking of someone else who is MEANT TO TEACH…. Evelyn Van Diest… I couldn’t get enough of her portraiture and history class!! Hats off to you for your patience in running the equipment store! How could I forget Paul… a million chocolate chip banana muffins couldn’t repay him for all the technical help he has given to all of us!! Thank you to Ian for your wisdom and always looking out for our safety. Fletcher your diverse mind has taught us all to look at everything in a million ways and to always think about the possibilities, from the writings on our grade sheets lets just say I kill to see what goes on in your mind!

Throughout my two years in Edmonton I have met so many people! Living in Edmonton has brought me closer and closer to a very old friend I know call my roommate, the support my best friend Rebecca has given me is outstanding, always full of advice and laughter I couldn’t be luckier to have her around! During our year end party one of my classmates mentioned something that really made sense to me….” This program has forced us to be completely emerged in photography.” Although the program was full of frustrating complications and redundant teachings its the people, the experience and the experimentation in each assignment that made it  worth while! In all honesty the program needs a complete make over but all in all I walked away with some great memories, extensive experiences, new friends and the most rewarding of all… a Forever Best Friend! Its a miracle to still have such a great friend after such a crazy 2 year program! Kristyn we have been through so so much together and have had some of the most amazing memories together I will never forget. Some not so great experiences but mostly GREAT experiences together, it makes me very sad to say goodbye to you but I know I have made a forever friend and no matter how much time apart is spent, always know I am here for life and just a phone call or a short drive away!

I wish I could keep rambling but I want to try and keep this related to solely my experience with school…. and for who ever is reading this… yep its getting long! I decided to take a risk and stay in Edmonton, after all… this place is kind of growing on me! With dreams of perusing my photography business in Edmonton,  I plan to hold tight in the place I am in for now … make SEVERAL trips back to Lloydminster to see my friends and family I miss so very much and eventually make a life just outside of Edmonton in the country running a Full- Time photography business! Yes this is a huge risk, yes I miss my friends more then words can explain, yes I have a hard time not seeing my family everyday and yes I am up for the challenge!  - Because after all.. your good friends and family will always be there for you no matter how much distance may part you! I have grown so much since packing up my life in Lloydminster and moving to Edmonton. I am excited to see what the rest of 2013 has to bring and even more excited to see what the rest of my life has in store for me. Thank you to everyone reading this who believed in me and pushed me to go further! Your encouragement and kind words always keep me going even when things get tough! Most of all thank you to all the special people coming down for my grad and to those who are cheering me on from afar, it means more to me then you will ever know!

Cheers to the future! **Please excuse my english as I just blurted out exactly what I was thinking!

- Chels

**Missing  quite a few important people in these photos I realize but I did my best for what I had on my computer! Some very old some new : )**

Kristyn - May 1, 2013 - 12:04 pm

Awe, this brought tears to my eyes! I love you tons my friend!! And that picture with you balancing the reflector on your head still makes me giggle! Hugs from Calgary <3!

Bobbi - May 1, 2013 - 6:09 pm

Chelsey, We are so proud of you! Can’t believe you have decided to stay in the BIG city though! We know how hard you worked to catch up after missing all that time at the beginning of your first year. So glad you were able to catch up and that you had such a great network of friends there. And you are right …they will be “FOREVER” FRIENDS.It seems like just yesterday you were born ..and now you have blossomed into this beautiful and confident young lady! We love you very much. Grandma and Grandpa Belous

Mom - May 1, 2013 - 7:40 pm

Very proud of you as usual. Never had a doubt you could get through it. :) life brings many ups and downs, but you are strong. Great job hunny! Welcome to adulthood :) you know we will always be here for you :) xoxo

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