The Strive Team is delighted to introduce you to Olivia Musico, our Strive Project Intern!

Olivia joins us from the Honours Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership degree program at Fanshawe College. Olivia is an artist, an adventurer, a passionate advocate for mental health and wellness, and an accomplished public speaker.  This summer she will be helping to coordinate meaningful professional learning opportunities as well as supporting other special projects and initiatives currently underway at Strive.

 

We asked Olivia some questions to get to know her a little better. Keep reading to see what she said!

 

Tell us a bit about yourself…

 

Hello! My name is Olivia Musico and I am proud to say I am one of the ECL interns at Strive for the summer of 2022! I grew up in Bright’s Grove, Ontario and I feel most at peace when I am at the beach, watching the sunset light the sky on fire with beautiful colours. When I am not at internship or doing schoolwork, you can find me working at Boler Mountain, playing soccer, going on adventures with friends and family or working on a creative project of some sort. 

 

At the beginning of my degree, if you had asked me what my goal was after graduation, I would have immediately said ‘teachers’ college.’ However, if you were to ask me what my post-graduation goals were today, I would confidently say ‘I have no clue and that fills me with excitement!’ Now, you may not know me all that well, but I was once someone who felt their entire life needed to be planned out, and after facing many obstacles in life, I have lived and learned the beauty of having an open mind and living in the moment. So, why does the unknown bring me excitement? Because it provides me with endless possibilities and the privilege of being in the now. Maybe I will end up at teachers’ college? Or maybe I will pursue a Master’s in Child Life Specialist? Leadership and advocacy have been and will continue to be a passion of mine too. I am excited to see what the future holds for me, but for now, I am just going to enjoy the journey and be present.

 

Tell us why you chose a pathway in Early Childhood Education and Care…

 

I actually began my post-secondary education as a BScN student athlete at Lambton College, before switching to Fanshawe College’s ECL program. Although there were many contributing factors as to why this switch took place, I must say, I am beyond grateful to have found the Honorus Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership program. I have always enjoyed working with children and families, and strive to provide a safe and supportive space where all people feel they can be their authentic self. I also have a passion for advocacy and leadership work, so bringing those two worlds together within the ECL program has continuously inspired me.  

 

What advice would you give someone else considering pursuing a career in Early Childhood Education? 

 

If I had to give advice to someone considering pursuing a career in Early Childhood Education, I would honestly begin by thanking them. This field of work is by no means easy, there are difficult moments, stigma surrounding the profession, and unfortunately, a lack of respect. However, the encouragement and strength of those working in the field is beyond powerful and inspiring. It is an absolute privilege to be in the ECEC workforce and help support our littlest citizens and their families. While I do not intend to scare this prospective professional away, I do believe in the importance of shining light on both the benefits and difficulties of working in this field, because passion, drive, and patience are essential. One of my favourite aspects of being in the field was seeing the children grow and develop into the unique individuals they are. I would encourage the prospective ECE to reflect on what brings them joy, inspiration, and what self-care practices they enjoy, because in order to best care for others, you must first care for yourself. If you’re considering a career in ECEC, I have one question for you…why? Think deeply and be honest with yourself. Do what is best for you. 

 

What are you most looking forward to doing throughout your internship? 

 

I’m not going to lie, when I first found out I got the position as intern at Strive, I called my parents right away and I had a mini dance party in my apartment! I have been attending Strive events since 1st year of my program, so I feel beyond grateful to have my educational and professional development experiences come full circle. I hold much excitement for each project I get to engage in this summer. I think I am most looking forward to being surrounded by like minded, kind hearted, inspirational professionals. I am in ‘awe’ by the conversations and discussions I have had the pleasure of participating in so far and the many committees that have welcomed me so graciously. I am excited to collaborate, connect, and advocate. Near the end of my internship, I have been given the absolute honour of being able to facilitate one of Strive’s Community of Practice: Be Well sessions, where I will share my mental health journey and passion for self-care.  

 

What is something you’ve learned recently that you’re excited about? 

 

On Monday May 9th, 2022 I got to attend ‘Heartwork: And So Much More’ a professional learning event moderated by Dr. Jean Clinton. The day included a number of fantastic, knowledgeable guest speakers, including my internship mentor, Meaghan MacDonell! Can you tell I am proud? If not, well..I am! Anyway, back to the question. During this event my brain was flooded with wisdom, and there was one statement that resonated with me. Mandy Bujold said “obstacles do not equal barriers.” As I mentioned before, I have the privilege of being welcomed onto a few committees as a student intern and emerging leader. When times get tough, I will be able to reflect back onto this motivational day and the inspiration I felt. I believe this phrase can shift one’s mindset and allow for effective problem-solving. I believe hope is a powerful thing and this quote gives me hope. 

 

What is something you’re unlearning? 

 

I am unlearning the misinformation and false truths that were taught to me, both in the educational system and within society, in relation to colonialism, Canadian history, the Indigenous Peoples and their land. I acknowledge that I am a settler and a guest to the land I live on. When I visit home (Lambton County), I am a guest on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, Chippewa, Odawa, and Potawatomi Peoples. When I am at internship, work, and Fanshawe College, I am a guest on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, Haudenonsaunee, Lūnaapéewak, and Attawondaron Peoples. Because I am in the process of unlearning and relearning, I do not feel I am able to expand too much on my answer at this time. However, I will mention some tips and tools I have partaken in to unlearn and relearn. I believe in the importance of engaging in honest conversation, especially those that evoke emotion and discomfort. I practice active listening; not just hearing the words of another, but actually listening to them and processing what has been said. I engage in reflective practices on a daily basis and hold a non-judgmental, open minded attitude towards myself and others. I know the process of unlearning and relearning will take time, patience, and ongoing acknowledgement. I look forward to learning the truth and continuing these conversations with family, friends, colleagues, strangers, neighbours, and anyone else I encounter in life.

 

What inspires you? 

 

 

Possibility. Passion. Hope. Authenticity. These four words are only the beginning of what could be a never-ending list of what inspires me. Possibility allows me to be optimistic and excited for the future. The possible connections I could make, the possible experiences I may have, and the possible knowledge I may learn.  

 

Working with those that pursue their passions inspires me to do the same. I see the impact passion can have in all aspects of life; not only does passion provide inspiration for yourself, but it also has the ability to inspire those around you.  

 

 

Hope can be a powerful thing. I find it difficult to articulate how inspiring and meaningful the word ‘hope’ is for me, but I will leave you with one question. In times where hope was present, what would be different today had there been no hope?  

 

And finally, authenticity, I truly admire and aspire to be like those who are their authentic self. I find my inspiration is reignited when I work with those who create a space where you feel safe enough to be who you are, free of judgment. Curious as to what quote gives me inspiration? Keep Scrolling to find out! 

 

Do you have a favourite quote? 

 

Always remember to be kind to yourself and Just Keep Swimming.

 

These are the words I always conclude my public speaking and social media posts with. It began with Dory’s wise words, “Just Keep Swimming.” I used those three words to help me get through some of my toughest moments in life, and continue to use it as motivation to keep moving forward. I eventually added “always remember to be kind to yourself” because I felt the importance and impact of reminding us to care for ourselves. As a society, and especially within this ECEC workforce, we are always told and taught to take care of others, but rarely are we reminded to care for ourselves. Self-care and self-compassion are emerging topics of conversation and if I have the ability to be someone’s reminder, sign me up! 

 

If you were an ice cream flavour, what flavour would you be and why? 

 

 

If I were to be an ice cream flavour I think I would be cotton candy. Cotton candy? Really Liv? Yes, bear with me as I try to explain my thoughts. Cotton candy is fun, colourful, brings forth your inner child, and is a reliable source of joy. Cotton candy was a top ice cream choice for little Liv. The bright colours always drew me in and it was cotton candy ice cream! Not just ice cream, not just cotton candy, it was cotton candy ice cream! Who knew that was possible?! Now, as a young adult, if I were to choose cotton candy (which I admit, is not too often, but this blog post has made me reconsider my ice cream choices for this upcoming summer), that inner child would be jumping with joy. No matter what age you are, you can always rely on cotton candy ice cream to make you feel joyful, silly, and free. So, why am I cotton candy ice cream? Well, I always enjoy putting smiles on other people’s faces, I encourage others to connect with their inner self and inner child, I value being a reliable person and the cherry on top is that I absolutely love sunsets, which I call cotton candy skies!  

 

 

 

Welcome to the Strive Team, Olivia! We are so excited to work with you!

 

Join us in extending Olivia a warm welcome by commenting below!

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