Meet Trent Ambassador Julia
Fortunate are those able to pursue their passion of helping others with a group of like-minded individuals while, at the same time, learning to better carry their own burden.
Her own experience dealing with anxiety never far from her mind, Cam’s Kids Ambassador Julia Beggs is part of a very active and committed Trent University team. This team works to ensure that anxiety-struggling students are well aware of two things: one, they are far from alone and, two, there are a number of resources available to help.
“Anxiety is something we all experience at some point,” says Julia, now in the second year of a four-year Social Work program, having arrived at Trent from her small rural community home some two hours north of Peterborough.
“I don’t really remember a time when I haven’t struggled with anxiety. Some of us have anxiety daily; some of us get it before a test. The degree of one’s anxiety doesn’t matter. All anxiety experiences are valid. It should still be talked about no matter what degree of it you experience.”
“You should know how to deal with it. You should know where you can reach out to if it gets to the point that it’s debilitating, stopping you from [doing] the things you love to do. Anxiety should never be something that stops you from living life. There are ways that you can get it under control. There are ways that you can get your life back.”
Julie explains that last year, in her quest to become more involved with her university community, she came across Cam’s Kids and reached out to learn more. She saw it as a perfect fit for her right from the get-go. She has since contributed her graphic design skills to the team’s efforts as well as helped co-plan outreach events and workshops.
“I’m really passionate about mental health advocacy,” she says.
“It’s such an amazing group. We all work together really well. We all have the same goal, which is to reduce the stigma around anxiety, both on campus and in our communities. I feel so empowered being a part of Cam’s Kids but I’m also learning and educating myself as part of the process.”
While she acknowledges that the COVID-19 pandemic has put the brakes on in-person outreach events, Julia assures the Trent Cam’s Kids team is doing what it can virtually to make students aware of its existence as well as the resources that are available to help.
“My Cam’s Kids experience has definitely made me more empathetic and a better listener,” says Julia.
“We try to avoid acting in a [counsellor] or therapist role. Rather, if you need someone to talk to, we’re here. We’re open to listening and we validate how you feel. It’s really just a matter of being there for them. Sometimes the best thing for a person to do is let it all out.”
Her best advice to those dealing with anxiety is “[r]each out. No one is going to think any less of you. Anxiety is something we all deal with. We have to work to the point in society where anxiety, and reaching out for help with any kind of mental health issue, is seen as normal.”
Post-university, Julia aspires to work with children in some capacity.
“I’ve worked as a children’s program coordinator for the past six years at a library and it’s my absolute favourite thing in the world to do. I just love the way kids see the world. Viewing the world through their eyes is so amazing.”
“But I also want to continue with my mental health advocacy. I look forward to being part of a future society where anxiety is talked about more. It’s such a confusing emotion. If no one is talking about it, you feel so alone and isolated. It’s a normal thing and it can be controlled. There are ways to live your life with anxiety and still be super happy and successful and do what you want to do.”