Brave. Strong. Resolute. These are just some of the adjectives that have been used by Paulett HoSang’s family, friends, and co-workers to describe her. A native of Jamaica, Paulett immigrated to Canada with her husband in June 2015 in search of a better life. As Paulett’s son Dwaine told us “I left Jamaica at the age of 14 and it was extremely difficult. I can only imagine having to do so at age 50. My mom left behind family, friends, her house and career to move to a foreign country…Although she was fearful to start over, I believe her desire to succeed in life was greater.” Despite the fact that she had ten years of experience as a Health Care Assistant in Jamaica, Paulett’s certificates and diplomas were of no value in Canada.
After a brief stint as a house cleaner, Paulett decided she wanted to continue working in health care in Canada. She was determined but frightened by the prospect of returning to school. “It was a challenge – I was thinking, ‘Oh my God, after so many years out of the classroom, how am I going to cope with full-time education?’ My family encouraged me and said, ‘Mom, you can do it, just get started. It’s what you love, it’s what you want to do, so get started.’ I checked online, and then a friend of mine told me about Stenberg. After reading up on what topics the program covered and learning that Stenberg offered a 100% employment guarantee for their Health Care Assistant Diploma program graduates, I enrolled.
“When I started the Health Care Assistant program, as I said, I was a bit scared. One of the things that I was about was my age. When I went to the first class and noticed that most of the students there were younger than my eldest son, I was like, ‘Oh no, how am I going to keep up with these kids?’” Paulett’s fears were allayed by the kind words of one of her instructors, Steve Paras, who encouraged her to “get [her] priorities straights and go after what she wanted.” Funnily enough, Paulett soon found herself serving as a source of inspiration for her fellow students. “I felt like a bit of a mother hen, and people began to gravitate towards me, and I wanted all of us to achieve. I didn’t want anyone to be left behind.” To that end, Paulett organized a study group with some classmates and was proactive about reminding her fellow students of upcoming projects and deadlines.
Paulett was hailed as a leader by several classmates, including Punam Mand, who stated that Paulett was “incredibly helpful and always took her work seriously. She never judged anyone and was always there to support us throughout the course. Thanks to her, the Health Care Assistant course has been significantly less stressful, and I truly believe that she is the best representative for our cohort.” Paulett maintained an impressive GPA of 91% throughout the program and was nominated as Student of the Year by two separate instructors. How did Paulett stay motivated during a program that was preparing her for a career she had worked in for ten years? By simply embracing the process. “There is always something new to learn,” Paulett says. “You can’t just believe that you know everything. I’m willing to open my mind so that whatever is out there for me to learn, I can grasp it.”
Paulett has inspired her classmates and family members, with Dwaine sharing that he is “incredibly proud of [his] mother for refusing to give up her desire to work in the health care field even though she had to start from scratch. It is her ambition, determination, and dedication that allowed her to pursue her certification as a Health Care Assistant. It is wonderful to see that my mom was able to excel in her studies as well as assist her clients in understanding and completing assignments. As always, her commitment and drive have inspired me.”
On the verge of completing the program, Paulett continues to encourage those around her. “If you want to do something, just go out and do it! I did! I’m really proud to know that I’ve done it and I’m a finalist. If I did it, anybody can do it!”