“We have been given the most amazing opportunity – a chance at life. We need to take it, and run with it. We only get one chance, so we better make it fantastic,” she told the Gazette in an interview earlier this week.
This enthusiasm for life is a gift the 19-year-old Barry’s Bay resident would like to share. That, in part, is why she is studying Sociology at Dalhousie University in Halifax.
“I am interested in what motivates people,” she said of her choice, three years ago, to study sociology.
“I want to be a life coach. My plan is to open my own business helping people set goals and realize they have the power to live their best possible life,” she said.
It was while working at the public library in Barry’s Bay that Conway realized her passion for sharing the power of positive thinking.
As a Grade 9 student working part-time at the Barry’s Bay library, she was sorting through the books in preparation for a sale when she came upon a copy titled Click.
The book had sat on the shelf for two years and had never been borrowed. Conway felt it should be signed out at least once before being discarded from the shelves. She took the small 200-page book home and read it.
“And then I bought copies for all my friends,” she confessed.
“The book really spoke to me. I tried the theories and recognized I was living that way already. It triggered my passion for positive thinking and I realized I wanted to teach others. I’ve never been one to worry whether something I want will happen, I always assume it will.”
“I know I can make the best of anything that comes my way. I don’t worry at all and this calm disposition makes me grateful for life rather than always looking for something more.”
The younger of two daughters to Toni and Dan Conway, she points to her mother for inspiration.
“My mom is positive, always looking at the bright side – a very optimistic person,” she confided.
What motivates Conway?
“When something makes me happy, I cling to it. Like running, when I go out for a run I know I will find happiness.”
Baking and playing the piano ignite the same happy response in Conway.
“I began playing piano when I was four, and continued until Grade 8. I didn’t really enjoy it and then in high school I had this fabulous music teacher and I made friends with an incredible musician and they inspired me to play. Now I write music and lyrics, nothing fancy, very plain. It’s a great form of expression for me.”
She points to family support and the community of Barry’s Bay for the success she has enjoyed.
“I got to use my imagination,” she said.
Conway attended Madawaska Valley High School where she won the Governor General’s Award and a four-year renewable scholarship to Dalhousie for her academic performance.
“I guess I have always had pretty good marks,” she admitted.
These pretty good marks placed her on the Dean’s List of Dalhousie University in Halifax this past year and won her a Fulbright Canada student award and a spot in the Killam Fellowships Program.
This prestigious program offers exceptional undergraduate students from universities in Canada an opportunity to spend either one semester or a full academic year as an exchange student in the United States. The program is reserved for Canada’s best and brightest.
“I had originally expressed an interest in an international exchange to Australia but my advisor suggested I take a look at this and said it would be worth my while,” she explained.
Researching several American schools, Conway settled on three choices, all of which offered Positive Psychology courses.
“I was sitting on the bed in my room in Halifax, I had just come in from a run, and it had been raining. My advisor called to tell me the news,” she recalled of the April conversation.