Salmon Arm Campus is More than You Think….

By College Relations | December 13, 2022

Katie Thielman
Katie Thielman

Katie Thielman joins a lengthy list of locals who have made Okanagan College’s Salmon Arm Campus her first-choice destination to begin her post-secondary education after high school. She is now one semester in – with no regrets.  

Thielman describes Okanagan College (OC) as “a college full of safety nets so you don’t just survive but thrive” in your studies and in life. She explains this means professors are available, know your name, and are willing to go the extra mile to help you succeed. Katie also noted the many support services available like free tutoring and accommodations that  make education more accessible. 

“I’ve heard people describe post-secondary at other places as ‘sink or swim’ and here it feels like sinking would just never be an option, everybody just cares too much to let that happen,” she said. 

Thielman indicated that her life outside school has not changed drastically, which she describes as positive.  

“What they say about university being a big jump academically is true,” Thielman said adding that you’re also expected to be more responsible for your life like keeping track of doctor’s appointments and taxes.  

“Adulting is hard,” Thielman laughed explaining that her ability to maintain some consistency in things like sports and her regular job has helped her not get overwhelmed. 

“None of my friends who went away kept up with the activities that were important to them in high school, for a variety of reasons. It’s kind of like one life ended and another began very abruptly, whereas I feel like I’m in a really lovely transitional phase where I’m growing, but in a healthy and supported way,” she said.  

Katie also stated that there are many other benefits of staying close to home to go to college, noting some of the funny misconceptions people have about staying local versus moving away.  

“Everyone thinks moving to Vancouver or Victoria is going to mean they meet all these new people, but they get overwhelmed and end up gravitating to people from Salmon Arm.”  

By contrast, Thielman describes the Salmon Arm Campus as “diverse, with people from all ages and backgrounds. The campus is small, you really have a chance to get to know each other. I’ve built some very meaningful relationships with people I probably would never have met on a traditional big university campus.” 

“The campus is actually so busy, there’s something going on every week” highlighting events that ranged from helping students cope with stress around midterms and finals to karaoke and trivia nights. “I really appreciate that there is a variety of events. It shows the inclusivity of our campus where not everyone wants to be out clubbing - but that doesn’t mean we don’t have fun! Having events that also focus on our well-being says a lot about the culture of wanting us to succeed and be healthy.” 

Katie has also been involved through the OC Students' Union and decided to be a student rep. She says she values the opportunity to impact the lives of other students.   

“I can see every day how our various campaigns make a difference for students, whether it is starting a conversation about consent, or keeping them fed with our lunch and food shelf programs or making things just a bit more affordable with discounts at businesses in town.”  

To find out what programs are offered on each of Okanagan College’s campuses, check out the program search function here.

Tags: Salmon Arm, Okanagan College Students Union



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