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One of Our First TRU-Start Students Becomes One of Our First Law Students

During the reception that followed our June Convocation ceremonies, one of my former students told me of her good news: Lisa Scruton was part of the first intake of TRU-Start students, a program that gives high school students a head start on their university education by allowing them to take one or more first-year classes while still enrolled in school. Lisa studied English 1100 as part of the first cohort of TRU-Start students, and after high school graduation she enrolled in TRU’s Arts program. She graduated in June and recently received notice that she’s been accepted into TRU’s new Law program!

Lisa Scruton, Arts, Class of 2011

Lisa Scruton, Arts, Class of 2011

WILL: Lisa, thanks for participating in this interview. You were part of the very first cohort of TRU-Start students, getting a head start on
university by taking a first-year English class while still enrolled in
high school. Would you describe the TRU-Start experience? Would you
recommend it to other students?

LISA: TRU-Start was my first glimpse into university life, and
specifically Thompson Rivers University life. During the first half of
my Grade 12 year I attended TRU twice a week in the evenings to take
English 1110. The program was a wonderful bridge between high school and
university because some of my classmates were high school students like
me, while the others were full-fledged TRU students. The balance of
students in the class and the balance of high school during the day and
university in the evenings made the entire transition to university much
smoother than anticipated. It gave me an understanding of what the new
expectations would be for me to succeed in school and also provided me
with an extra burst of energy to continue my education immediately
rather than take a year off. The program was an ideal introduction to
TRU and I would recommend it to any local high school student.

WILL: What was is like taking high school classes by day and a
university class in the evenings? Did you find a big difference between
the two experiences?

LISA: Yes, I found there was a drastic difference between the two experiences. During the day in high school I was treated as a child and spent most of my time behaving like one: not doing my homework, day-dreaming, and counting down the minutes until the end of class. In the evenings at TRU, however, I was treated like an adult. Schoolwork became my own responsibility, and it was clear that I wouldn’t be missed if I didn’t show up to class or didn’t pay attention because the only person I would hurt would be me. These new standards made me want to be there. I always learned, I always enjoyed class, and I was always treated like an adult, even if initially I struggled to behave like one.

WILL: When you enrolled in university, why did you choose TRU? Why did
you focus on the Arts?

LISA: I chose to attend TRU in part because of location (being in
Kamloops and close to family) and partly because the TRU-Start program
instantly made it my home. The TRU campus is beautiful and the student
body is vibrant and energetic. After seeing that during TRU-Start, I
knew I didn’t want to leave. 
My decision to pursue an Arts degree wasn’t actually what I thought I
would do in university. I always knew I wanted to go to Law School, but
the required Bachelor’s Degree before Law School is, well, unspecific, so I
imagined I would pursue my undergrad in sciences. However, Arts (and
specifically English) chose me. I never enjoyed high school, but there
was one teacher in Grade 9 that I liked and who encouraged me in
English. Her encouragement stretched all the way into my Grade 12 year,
when I became her TA and was selected for TRU-Start. I decided at that
point that English was the route for me and took it on as a major. Later
on in my degree I discovered the Political Science and Economics joint
major and added that to my degree as well, and now I am incredibly happy
with what I consider a well-rounded Arts Degree.

WILL: You mentioned wanting to study Law–and I know that you have some
good news on that front.

LISA: Yes, I most certainly do. I have been accepted to study Law this September at TRU with the brand new Faculty of Law. When I first found out about the new Law School coming to TRU (back in February, 2009) I was ecstatic and wanted to begin writing my statement of interest immediately. When the application was officially made available online in December 2010. I printed it off, filled it out and popped it in the mail before 24 hours had passed. I was a bit of an eager beaver! After that I waited almost six months before I got the incredible news that I had been accepted, but the wait was undoubtedly worth the result. Now I’m counting down the days until I get to step foot on campus as an official Law student, on September 6th!

There are definitely some challenges ahead that can be expected for the first few years of starting a brand new Law School, but personally I look forward to these challenges. While some students may balk at the hurdles ahead for my classmates and I to manoeuvre through while the Law School finds its feet, the Law faculty has chosen an amazing bunch of students, most (if not all) of whom are eager to work hard in helping to establish Canada’s newest Law School!

Lisa and Will GP at Spring Graduation

Lisa and Will GP at Spring Graduation

WILL: Congratulations on your graduation and on your acceptance to TRU’s
new Law School–and thanks again for sharing your academic journey with
us. You were one of our first TRU-Start students, now becoming one of our first Law students.

LISA: Thanks Will. TRU has been such an incredible university to attend over the last few years. I think sometimes it’s easy for local high school students to set their sights on universities farther away simply because they want to get away from family for a little while, and some don’t realize what a gem TRU truly is—and I think programs like TRU-Start can help stop students from overlooking the advantages of studying closer to home. I can’t imagine any other university in the country that could have done what TRU has done for me—allowing me to be a trailblazer for two incredible programs.

The Summer edition of the Venture Kamloops Newsletter provides the following account of the new Law program: “On May 31, 2011 at the University of Calgary Murray Fraser Hall, representatives from University of Calgary (UofC) and Thompson Rivers University (TRU) held a ceremony to sign a official licensing agreement representing a landmark partnership between UofC and TRU. This agreement will result in the creation of Canada’s newest Law School. Among the attendees were Lucas Alan Harrison, UofC provost and vice president; Uli Scheck, TRU provost and vice president; and Chris Axworthy, TRU’s founding dean of law.

“Starting September 2011 TRU’s Law School, the third in B.C., will offer over UofC’s curriculum, which falls under the broad heading of common law. Its focus on areas such as energy and environmental law correspond with the programs TRU wants to offer. TRU will also aim to develop a reputation for expertise in First Nations law, as stated in a story by Janet Steffanhegan of the Vancouver Sun in the May 26, 2011 online issue. The new Law School hopes to alleviate the problem of the shortage of lawyers in smaller communities in hopes that having a law school in the Thompson Nicola Regional District will encourage articling students to stay in the community and possible remain with their articling firm or start their own firm which in turn will increase the community’s ability of serving the legal needs of individuals. For the inaugural year, the new Law students will be attending in the new Learning Centre at TRU, then for 2012/2013 and beyond, students will be educated in the $20 million newly renovated Old Main Building.”

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