Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Biologist. Student. Songstress. Entrepreneur. Teacher.

These are just a few of the titles that describe Joelle Prevost (Class of '05). Her resume boasts an impressive compilation of academic, volunteer, and life experience, and at 12 years post-secondary, she continues to pursue education in addition to many other endeavors. She is the epitome of a life long learner. "I love trying new things and challenging myself!" says Prevost.

Currently enrolled in the Masters of Counselling Psychology program at Vancouver's Adler University, Joelle also works part-time at Ocean Wise as a research technician working with Wolf Eels. Occasionally, she can also be found singing her heart out at local Vancouver venues, including the Roxy, as the lead singer and lyric-writer for pop rock band, Nebrie.

Joelle's eclectic interests blossomed at a young age. She entered Grade 6 at Southridge in 1998, after living in the Netherlands for four years, and during her time at the school she explored many different extracurricular activities including synchronized swimming, band and jazz band, and took part in travel opportunities to New Orleans (with the Jazz band), the Galapagos Islands, Europe, and countless camping and outdoor adventures. On the academic side, biology was undoubtedly her favourite subject. "There were only six of us in the biology 11 class, so we had super interesting class discussions, and did really cool projects – it was such a great group dynamic."

Her passion for biology led her to UVic where she earned a Bachelor of Science with minors in Biology and Psychology, as well as an additional minor in Ocean Science. She completed this while continuing to be involved with synchronized swimming, working various jobs including lifeguarding, receiving her PADI open water scuba diving certification, and volunteering at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre Aquarium in Sidney, BC.

Prevost credits Southridge for instilling her passion for volunteerism, which has helped her gain valuable experience over the years. She has held numerous volunteer positions with the Vancouver Aquarium, worked at Fisheries and Oceans Canada with the Robert H. Devlin genetics lab, interned with the IUCN Shark Specialist Group at SFU, and volunteered with Project Seahorse at UBC. She has also had the opportunity to help others while gaining counselling hours working with the Vancouver Crisis Centre. Most recently, Joelle finished a 2½ year stint as a volunteer on the Southridge Alumni Executive Board.

After two years at the Vancouver Aquarium as a full-time Tropical Saltwater Fish Biologist, Joelle realized that she loved teaching and helping others, so she completed the Bachelor of Education program at UBC in 2016. "I thought my job at the Aquarium was going to be my career forever." But as Joelle has learned, you never know where your path will take you.

Only weeks after completing her Bachelor of Education, she was involved in a serious car accident that left her with a fractured C7 vertebrae, a moderate brain injury, and other injuries. "I had to reset my schedule back to zero," says Prevost about her healing process. "When I was ready, I slowly added activities and work back to my plate, but only the ones that were meaningful to me." That included yoga, meditation, music, and pursuing her Masters in Counselling Psychology.

While Joelle has taken different paths, and pursued various passions since her time at Southridge, one thing that has remained constant is the strong connection she has with the friends she made while at the school. "Since graduating, I have met many new people, but I have a core group of friends from Southridge and we always come back to each other." Prevost says she feels a special connection to her fellow grads. "Seeing each other every day for years and watching each other grow, it definitely creates a very unique and strong foundation."

Joelle's advice to students is not to worry too much about what other people think about you, and to follow your own dreams. "Life's too short," says Prevost. Joelle has learned that plans change and life is a journey. "Don't stress too much about what you are going to do. You will figure it out as you go."

If you ask Joelle where she sees herself in five years, she doesn't know quite yet, but she hopes it involves traveling (with pets), working remotely, being happy, and helping others. She wants to live a life of minimalism, with very few material things.

"I want to live a simple, but deliberate life."

From the Spring 2018 Spirit Magazine