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SPOTLIGHT: Top Student-Athlete Explains SASS

Monday March 27, 2017
Vickie Lemire in white jersey standing on the ice.

Vickie Lemire is the captain of the Gee-Gees women’s hockey team and this season won the conference award for Leadership and Community Engagement. The fourth-year human kinetics student is the president of uOttawa’s Student-Athlete Council and volunteers at Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity.

Vickie Lemire also has ADHD. The strong, dependable student-athlete who has earned respect on the ice and off says that her decision to access the services at uOttawa’s Student Academic Success Service (SASS) in her first year of University was a huge difference-maker in her path to graduation.

“I think I’ve had [ADHD] for a long time but officially I was diagnosed during my first year of University,” says Lemire, who came to uOttawa from Cégep de Saint-Laurent. "I knew my workload was going to be a lot higher and a lot more demanding in terms of time management so I knew I would need that extra help. Before, I always had a little bit more trouble. My marks are actually higher in University because I am more aware of my condition – I know what works for me and doesn’t work for me so I am able to work around that.”

Despite her concerns around workload, not playing hockey was never an option. Lemire has been a high level athlete for many years and attended a Hockey Canada National Team Development Camp for U18 after playing for Team Quebec at the U18 National Championships.

“I think it would have been worse if I was not on the hockey team. I get my hyper-activity out with sport which lets me focus and be more calm in class. Hockey is what helped me not have to go to the doctor before University. It’s a factor that helps me more than hurts me. ”

After consulting with SASS staff members, Lemire was pointed in the direction of Access Service which can support students with academic accomodations during exam time. “I use the SASS services depending on the class. We all have our strengths and weaknesses – for me anything that has to do with writing, especially long form writing, I need more time than the average student. My stress is definitely less leading up to exams, knowing that I have this support.”

As a leader among student-athletes at uOttawa, Lemire wanted to let others know about her experience and provide a positive example. “I am sure that some athletes know they have a condition but they are reluctant to go and consult. I think they don’t know that it’s not that hard, but I also think they don’t want to accept that they have the condition or they put it aside because they don’t want to use it as an excuse. That’s not good for them.” 

“After I got the help that I needed I understand what works for me and what doesn’t and my grades have only gotten better. I would really like to share that your condition is not an excuse – it is what it is. Yes, you will have more difficulties than others on certain things but that doesn’t make you less of a person. SASS is there for us and you should definitely use it if you feel like it could help you.” 

For more information about SASS, visit https://sass.uottawa.ca/en