UWindsor student ambassador Patrick Frias wants to be the most enthusiastic advocate for undergraduates that he can because he realizes that the transition to university can be a difficult one.
And, in his case, realizing that he’d enrolled in what wasn’t ultimately the right program for him made it even more of a challenge.
Originally accepted into the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Frias says that he felt “stressed and overwhelmed”...until the moment he realized that what he really wanted to be is a nurse.
“At first I was frustrated and worried about changing my career choice after completing an entire degree,” he says. “However, I realized that it’s better to figure it out late than not at all!”
That was when the young man decided to really make the most of his university experience.
After enrolling in the Faculty of Nursing, Frias next decided to become more involved on campus in as many positive ways as he could. “Advocacy is my passion. I decided I could follow that...and do everything that I could to accomplish it.”
Once he committed to the idea, he discovered there were many ways to make a difference to both current and prospective students.
Soon after shifting his program of study, he successfully ran to be a first-year student representative to the Nursing Society, a branch of the university’s undergraduate student government. He is also a delegate that represents UWindsor nursing students to the Canadian Nursing Students’ Association.
In addition to his political advocacy roles, Frias became “really focused on giving back. I did fundraising for charities, dress-up days, and Boston Pizza get-together events to raise money.”
His favourite event was the “Movember” fundraiser that he helped to co-ordinate. In fall 2013, Frias and his peers were struggling to raise pledges for their “Movember” campus fundraiser that requires participants to grow moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of men’s health issues. “My friend came across an idea where school students duct-taped their teachers to the wall for fundraising.”
“I thought, ‘Let’s do it. Let’s ask people to duct-tape us to the wall!’ And, we successfully raised $300 two years in a row.”
In addition to his willingness to be duct-taped for a good cause, Frias has also worked as a student ambassador for the University of
Windsor Student Recruitment Office for the past four years. In this role, he has represented the university at events across the province, including being part of the school’s large contingent that attends the Ontario Universities’ Fair each fall in Toronto.
The fair draws thousands of visitors from across the Greater Toronto Area and provides universities with the opportunity to put their best foot—and people—forward to encourage prospective students to apply to them. Frias has attended the fair on behalf of the Faculty of Science and, later, the Faculty of Nursing.
He says that his participation was motivated by his own experience. “Moving to nursing was something new,” he says. “I was scared, but the people in the program there made it easier for me. In return, I wanted to help new students to feel at home, as well. To feel that community feeling that I feel now.”
Among his duties as a student ambassador, the young man is the first friendly face to welcome prospective students and their families to UWindsor for campus tours during the school year. During tours, he points out necessary information relevant to their academic and extracurricular interests.
Student Recruitment Office administrative assistant Wendy Bedard says that Frias has performed his role exceptionally well. “He is always enthusiastic about touring visitors to campus while sharing his experiences and the passion he has for the University of Windsor,” she says.
During this past summer, the third-year student worked as a health care aide at a nursing home in Leamington, Ont. He says he believes the opportunity to do so stemmed from the practical, hands-on experience he has received through the Faculty of Nursing. It provided him with a valuable networking opportunity with the rest home while working there as a student.
After graduation, his career goal is to be a bedside nurse as well as an advocate for patients’ rights and well-being.
Frias says his own university experience is an excellent example of just how transformational the time spent on campus can be—if a student is determined to make the most of it.
“There is a myth that students are only a number at universities. I don’t believe this is true at the University of Windsor. You are only a number if you choose to be so.”