17:07 PM

Building Renovation student and Celebration of Excellence Award recipient finds comfort in the work she loves most

Self-isolation began two weeks before the campus shut down for Dorice Robichaud, a student in second semester of the Construction Engineering Technician – Building Renovation Technician program at Mohawk’s Stoney Creek campus. An accidental fall at home left Dorice immobilized and, as a result, home-bound before the rest of us followed with our own self-isolation brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Confined to her home because of her injury, Dorice found herself experiencing feelings of panic and anxiety all too familiar to her. Dorice was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) before she began her studies at Mohawk. She experienced panic attacks that she has been able to address with the assistance of her service dog – Darwin, who continues to support her to manage her symptoms while she is completing her coursework.

A recipient of a Celebration of Learning award for Accessibility Leadership, Dorice was thriving in her studies until her injury left her homebound. But when the campus shut down, so did she. Dorice found herself overwhelmed, frozen in place and unable to log into her course sites to continue with her schoolwork. Feeling trapped in her own home, she found solace, ironically, in building another home of sorts by completing a bird house for a class project.

Soon after, she managed to move her work station from the basement to the upper level of her home, where she set up a table on her porch so she could work in the sunshine. She accessed her courses online, submitted her assignments and completed her exams. When she needed a break from the books, she turned to what she loved most – building. After the birdhouse came a pinball machine – another enjoyable assignment that occupied her hands and her mind. Project by project, Dorice built her way out of confinement and back to her schoolwork.

Not surprisingly, Dorice received a 100% on her birdhouse project and will spend the summer constructing more of them before she returns in the fall for the final year of her program. In her schoolwork, Dorice found an escape from self-isolation, and from the panic and anxiety that ensued because of it. Her story of resilience bears testament to how one Mohawk student has already made it out of self-isolation, one assignment at a time.