Mary Bastien and Christine Desjardins are typical students. They are passionate about what they want to do in life, very self driven, and have carved out a path for themselves by starting with an education at St. Clair College. We caught up with them in March 2015, and asked them if they would be part of our TV advertising campaign. They agreed! Here is their story, and watch for them on the CTV Network!
After spending a short time studying history at university, Mary Bastien realized this wasn't the path she wanted to pursue in life. Instead, she entered the Plumbing program at St. Clair College, and is now part of a historical shift of women entering the skilled trades.
"I knew plumbing was a career that would give me hands-on work and keep me busy and interested in what I was doing," says Bastien, who graduated from St. Clair last spring and plans to start as an apprentice in the next few months.
Her Plumbing Certficate has not only equipped her with the skills and know-how to become a successful plumber, Bastien says St. Clair has given her the confidence, initiative and drive to set and achieve goals and complete important tasks, which are invaluable traits in life.
While Bastien was the only female in her class of around 30 students, she says that didn't deter her from pursuing a career in this field.
"I find many people around my age still don't know what they want to do as a career and may have too much on their mind and no idea what to be, while other people keep throwing their opinions at them of what career they think would suit them best," explains Bastien. "I've been there too, and what I say is shake it off and do something to change that. Make a positive decision, and if it feels good, stick with it."
For most people who know her, Bastien says pursuing a career in the plumbing industry was the last thing they expected of her.
"When people ask what I've decided to be and I tell them a plumber, most first comments revolve around the fact that I'm a female and it's an oddity to see one in that type of field," says Bastien. "Sure that may be true for now, but honestly that doesn't change my mind about this career one bit. This is what I want to do, not what I was told to do, and by golly I'm going to do what makes me happy. And you should too!"
Christine Desjardins has performed on countless stages since she was six years old, and while most of the various characters she's played are very different from who she is in reality, she says performing is when she feels most true to herself.
"I love the feeling of being on stage and being able to tell a story and share it with people," says Desjardins, who has been dancing since she was three years old. "Even if I might be playing a completely different person from myself, it's where I feel most like me. Nothing and no one can take that away from me and St. Clair has only helped my love and passion for this art grow."
Desjardins is in her third year of the Music Theatre Performance program at St. Clair College. She hopes her education at St. Clair will propel her passion for performance arts into a lifelong career.
The aspiring performance artist from Port Dover, Ontario chose to audition at St. Clair because she had heard great things about both the staff and the program. She auditioned and got accepted at several other colleges and universities in Ontario – and was even offered several scholarships – but declined them to attend St. Clair.
"I thought it was just going to be another audition like the other schools, but the staff at St. Clair were just so welcoming and kind and gave me great advice for future auditions," explains Desjardins. She says after her audition, she enjoyed a lovely tour of the school and classrooms. "St. Clair seemed like the perfect fit for me, and I have not doubted my decision once since I started this program."
It definitely hasn't been an easy road, and Desjardins says her educational experience at St. Clair has been a challenge, but she feels it has been totally worth it.
"I will forever be grateful to the staff and my peers who have helped me in this chapter of my life. I've grown so much not only as a performer, and I have really discovered who I am as person," says Desjardins. "Every song, working script, synopsis, scene and choreography piece have all been steps to getting where I will be when I leave this program, which will hopefully be great things."
Desjardins, who is 20 years old, will graduate from the Music Theatre Performance program in the spring. And then, armed with her St. Clair Diploma, it's on to bigger and better things!
"I hope to travel the world while pursuing my craft as a career," says Desjardins. "There's no greater gift than doing what you love for a living."