Skills Canada. Sounds pretty cool right? But what did I do there? In all honesty when Audrey (my coach) asked me if I wanted to compete I said yes without really knowing what I was getting myself into. Looking back now, hands down, it was one of the best experiences I have ever had. Even through the training sessions where I wanted to give up, the many many tears and the pressure of keeping composure under the scrutinizing eyes of thousands on the competition grounds, the personal and professional growth I experienced was utterly worth it.
Audrey and I at the competition site for provincials in Edmonton, AB
How did this journey all start? Well it was a pretty typical day about mid January, I was asked if I wanted to compete in the area of nails with art, bridal and fantasy makeup, a facial, massage and waxing. Seemed like a lot but I was willing to work hard to do the best I could in all areas. Later that day, Audrey came and gave me what could be the equivalent of a small novel, filled with competition guidelines and rules, to the smallest details like how many minutes exactly I had to set up, tear down, and greet my client.
Audrey and I, celebrating after I accepted my gold medal, and a spot on Team Alberta
Training itself started off pretty rough to be completely honest, it took many months of practicing the same things over and over again, hating it and starting over. But eventually the hours of work started to show and my confidence grew as the weeks went by.
Accepting my gold medal at provincials in Edmonton
Now fast forwarding to competing provincially in Edmonton. I had never competed in anything like it. It was set up in such a way that public viewers could walk around between the different booths and competitions, and could watch anything at any point, resulting that for the complete two days of competition, you were under the watchful eyes of not only the judges, but also the constant flow of thousands and thousands of spectators from a 360 view. By the end of both days I was crumbling from both exhaustion and stress of the day, but at the same time being so excited to do it all over again the next day. By the end, and having been on stage, gold medal in hand, I knew at that moment everything had been worth it, hundreds of times over.
Less than two weeks later, I found myself on a plane on the way to Winnipeg to do this all over again against not only the province this time, but the entire nation. The nerves and the stress began the day we landed, the butterflies and the anticipation of meeting the 6 other opponents, all from various parts of Canada was at an all time high. When I finally did meet everyone, it was very relieving to see that they were all in the same situation and it helped quite a bit that every single one of them was kind and helpful towards each other not only on the first day but throughout all the competition days as well.
Day 1 of competition in Winnipeg. I had to complete a manicure with nail art. Photo credit: Skills Canada Alberta
Day 2 of competition in Winnipeg. I had to complete a body treatment and waxing service. Photo credit: Skills Canada Alberta
Me and my fellow competitors at Skills Canada in Winnipeg, MB. What an amazing group. I am so happy to have met them all.
Finally, the experiences and the friends I made throughout this entire competition were worth every struggle and battle faced leading up to, and during, both nationals and provincials. I have met and discussed with so many people from across Canada across the trade fields represented, and I definitely know that I wouldn’t have met any of them if it weren’t for this competition, much less become friends.
That’s me running the Alberta flag across the stage at the Skills Canada awards ceremony! Every province had their team cross the stage to get the crowd pumped up for what was a really exciting closing ceremony. Photo credit: Skills Canada Alberta
I would strongly suggest to anyone who may have the opportunity to be a part of this fantastic experience to fully dedicate themselves to it. Yes it will be difficult, yes you will want to give up many times, yes the emotions run high, but at the end of the day, I will proudly say, for years to come, that this was an experience of a life time, I have made connections of a life time and I pushed myself to limits I never knew I even had.
no gimmicks. just great education