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My NSCC Open House Experience

NSCC sign on building with fall leaves around.

We invited NSCC alum, carpenter and photographer - Chuck Wrathall - to attend our Open House. Read all about his experience.

As a former NSCC grad, I was beyond excited when Nova Scotia Community College reached out to me to attend their annual Open House. As a so- called influencer, I often work with brands and companies to help promote events. I love working with local businesses and was intrigued to return to my old campus to see what Open House had to offer. So this was exciting to me.

Marconi Campus

It was the first time in about 8 years since I graduated that I returned to Marconi Campus. As soon as I pulled up to the campus, I got such a nostalgic feeling! It was a perfect, fall morning. So I decided to take a quick walk around the outside of the campus, snapping some photos of the colourful leaves surrounding the building.

Upon entering, I was greeted by a group of amazing students. They were super helpful at giving me a hand locating what I was looking for. The day began with high school student attendees gathering in the cafeteria, listening to some great motivational speeches and of course sipping on coffee and snacking on cookies.

Carpentry students in the workshop.jpg

Being a carpenter graduate, the next stop I had to make was of course the carpentry class. I ended up speaking with the instructor about my time at NSCC, how I’m still working in the trade full time and doing my photography part time, tool talk and then I took a walk down to the wood shop. I watched as the students demonstrated using some hand tools to work on their projects. One group was building a community feral cat house to help house stray cats. I thought that was just great!

Strait Area Campus

Next, I headed up to the Strait Area Campus. The drive from Sydney to Port Hawkesbury was incredible. The rain held off and the fall leaves couldn’t have been more colourful.

I arrived at Strait Area Campus just before lunch and grabbed a slice of pizza and relaxed in the comfy lounge. Next, I headed to the wave simulator. This might have been one of the coolest things I’ve seen. I had no idea this campus had this to offer. It was a great time watching the students dive into the waves, working together and entering the lifeboat.

Students diving into the wave simulator

I then headed upstairs to check out a ship navigation simulator. This replica of a ship’s control room was super cool. The room had two long control panel desks and a compass in the middle, all surrounded by computer monitors with lifelike simulations. It was a blast watching the high school students looking at the maps, asking a pile of questions, playing with the controls and seeing them “drive” the ship. It blew my mind how accurate and lifelike the simulations were, like a virtual reality game but better.

Students in a replica ship control room

We also checked out the engine room simulator. This was a pretty neat part of the program. There were simulators hooked up to Xbox controllers. You could virtually walk around in the engine room and perform maintenance tasks and learn how the generators and other major operating systems work. I loved this simulator simply because it totally reminded me of playing James Bond - Golden Eye for the N64 in the boiler room level.

Down the hall, I took a look at some nautical-themed displays and a variety of knots. It was super cool to learn how to tie a few different knots and what they were used for.

Table displaying a variety of nautical knots

Then I proceeded to the next classroom where they had a few different groups showing and explaining how to read maps and their uses at sea. They demonstrated how to calculate speed, how to measure map features and distances. We browsed local maps of Halifax Harbour including an area where you can’t drop anchor because it’s an old WWII underwater minefield. One thing that really stood out to me about the charts class was how passionate the students were to teach me what they’ve learned. They would completely light up while explaining and were thrilled when I had some questions regarding the maps.

Next up was the culinary program! This might have been my favourite part of the day, simply because I got to make and eat some delicious deserts.

Deserts on a plate

I started off by getting to know the teacher and students. Then we played a fun game to learn the names and uses for some of the cooking tools. We listened to a description and then matched it with an item on the table in front of us. Next, it was time to make some pastry tart deserts. It was so much fun having the students show their techniques. They made them look so nice I couldn’t resist snapping a few pictures. We stuffed our faces, continued chatting for a bit and I went on my way to my last destination.

My last stop was to the Natural Resources Environmental Technology program. I was excited for this because being a woodsman, my passion is in the outdoors and learning how to use the wilderness to your advantage when in the wild. The teacher, Waddie, was incredibly informative and knowledgeable. We instantly connected over our similar passions. We talked about the wilderness skills I often practice and the time I spend outdoors exploring our beautiful province. He gave high school students who stopped by some of the most humble, honest and heartfelt talks about life after high school.

Students in safety gear outside

I’ve always said while I was attending NSCC was that the teachers were one of the bests parts about the College experience. I’m so glad to see that is the case at other campuses, too.

I would highly recommend going to Open House if you’re considering signing up to one of their many programs. Everything from the College environment, staff, students and just the general vibe was overall incredible. I couldn’t have asked for a better time. Thanks so much to Nova Scotia Community College for hosting me - I’ll be checking out next year’s Open House for sure!