Jonathan Nayler (Otonabee College) came to Trent University excited to pursue higher education with the goal of becoming a lawyer – something he was not always sure he would ever be able to do. Now in his third year of the Indigenous Studies program, Jonathan finds himself in a place of support and sees his academic community at Otonabee College, one of Trent’s five collegiate communities, as much more than just a place to study.
“Otonabee really embraces the people-first values and treats its leaders like a family,” says Jonathan. “The college's motto reflects that the times are changing, and we change with them - I am an example of that.”
Jonathan shares that he strives to constantly be learning about Indigenous and Canadian culture, feminism, Disability, and social justice issues while developing his own understanding of their intersections.
Getting involved brings opportunity
Jonathan did not find his community at the University by accident. With roles in Orientation Week, the Collegiate Leadership Competition, Otonabee College Cabinet, and the First Peoples House of Learning (FPHL), Jonathan has taken the time to get involved in activities that support other students in finding their own community at Trent.
In 2021, Jonathan decided to expand his leadership skills and got involved with the Collegiate Leadership Competition (CLC), an international competition putting students’ skills and knowledge gained at Trent to the test. The team, composed of Jonathan and four other students, went on to place third in Canada and tenth internationally.
“I have never considered leadership as fun and competitive before [the Otonabee College team] introduced me to this opportunity virtually in 2021,” shares Jonathan, noting that he is excited to see many first-year students at the University are now getting involved with the CLC as well.
“If I had one piece of advice for students, it would be get involved in university life. Take care of yourselves, put in the actual effort, do not let fear and the past get in the way of anything, test your negative thoughts, practice meditation, work hard and fight for what you want and prove to people that you are worth fighting for - it will be worth it.”
What’s next for Jonathan?
“After Trent, I am going to be pursuing Indigenous Law at the University of Ottawa and hope to continue on my great path of participating in extracurriculars like the Collegiate Leadership Competition, OC Cabinet, and being a O-Week leader.”