After years of lacking the confidence to pursue an education at the University level, Bill Stevenson came to realization he needed a change and decided to take on the challenge.
Bill started with the General Education Diploma at Albert School in North Central Regina. He says that gave him the boost he needed to continue his education and off he went.
As Stevenson looked at a variety of degrees and spent a lot of time questioning his own knowledge base before he launching into a degree in Human Justice.
“Asking questions is very important when you are not sure,” Bill advises any student trying to decide what field of study to pursue.
The Human Justice degree also dovetailed well with the community work he was already doing with North Central Regina, so it really felt like a good fit when he combined the two.
Bill still recalls how he didn’t really believe in himself even after he was accepted and just assumed he would drop out sooner than later. As time went on, Bill finished his first year with really good grades. Doing well gave him a sense of accomplishment that helped propel him forward semester after semester.
Six years later Bill felt that he’d learned more than just about Human Justice as a degree. Bill says he learned he could do anything as long as he put his mind to it, he learned about the world, and how an Indigenous person can in fact fit in to the world.
“The opportunities are there and we have every potential to grow just like everyone else,” Bill says.
Bill says that completing his degree was not without some major challenges and struggles. In the last year of his program, Bill lost his adoptive mother who had been a big support his entire life. The loss almost forced him to take time off; instead Bill pushed himself to finish even though he mourning such a huge loss.
“That was the hardest semester I ever had and I did it for her,” remembers Bill. “I finished for her.”
Bill says when he started he thought he’d never finish. But as time went on, he realized that was only his own way of limiting himself.
“Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with only two semesters left felt amazing but I think actually walking across the stage to accept my six years of hard work, symbolized with a rolled up parchment of paper, was the greatest memory of my undergraduate experience,” says Bill.
Bill still continues to work in the community today, which includes working with youth and writing, while also running his own photography business.