Thriving in the right learning environment
For Lorenzo Gallardo, NSCC opened unexpected doors and the opportunity to take charge of his future.
Born and raised in the Philippines, Lorenzo moved to Chicago after high school and started his first job as a cook. His next move was to Halifax just a few years later.
"One day I just said to myself, you know, I need to wake up every day with more motivation. I need a goal to work toward. I need to challenge myself," says Lorenzo, who at that time was working as a cook. "That's when I decided to go to NSCC."
After exploring his options and asking around, he learned that NSCC Business Administration courses can count towards a university degree.
"If I decide I want to go to university down the road, my first two years are already complete. It's really the best of both worlds," says Lorenzo, who was keen to learn in an environment that was right for him. "I didn't like the idea of starting out in a big lecture hall filled with people who didn’t know my name. Classes at NSCC are small and you get to know your classmates and instructors well, which creates the perfect environment for deeper learning."
Small class sizes and learning alongside the same classmates gave Lorenzo the opportunity to meet a wide variety of people and form lasting friendships.
"Our class became a squad. We were a mix of backgrounds and ages, but we had the same goals – to better ourselves and accomplish something bigger."
Lorenzo credits his instructors with encouraging him and his classmates to journey out of their comfort zones at networking functions and other professional events.
Learning outside the classroom
"NSCC provides a lot of opportunities for you to gain career-ready skills, but it's up to you to take advantage of them. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to find your hustle."
Which is exactly what Lorenzo did. He contributed extensive volunteer hours as Co-President of Enactus, a non-profit organization that believes in creating a better world through entrepreneurial action. This allowed him to validate what he was learning through NSCC's Business Administration program.
"Enactus became an experimental hub for me. I applied so much of what I was learning in class to the work I was doing with Enactus, and I brought my Enactus experiences back to the classroom. It was kind of a two-way street."
Lorenzo was recruited by TD before graduation, but that wasn't the only thing that made his graduation day special – both his sister and mother graduated from NSCC, too. All three now have successful business careers in Nova Scotia.
"I found myself when I moved to Halifax and chose NSCC."