When she first looked to the University of Saskatchewan, Delainey had faint plans of pursuing a law degree. But only a few short weeks of classes in Edwards School of Business left her confident that she’d found her home on campus—and she never looked back.
“Some of my best friends had those wander-around-and-find-yourself, decide-what-you-want-to-do years,” Delainey said. “I didn’t have those. I found my people and stuck to it.”
Today Delainey is a few months out of the Edwards accounting program, having finished classes in December of 2016, and will take part in U of S Spring Convocation in June at TCU Place. Her decision to dive headfirst into her study of choice is an attitude mirrored repeatedly in her academic career, a years-long portrait of a young woman who would rather chase success with bold strides than risk failure through inaction.
Delainey came to the U of S from the small town of Edam, Sask., where she said strong support from her family and community inspired her to stretch her abilities early and often.
“When I was applying to universities, I noticed that a lot of my female peers were choosing to pursue careers in education and nursing,” Delainey said. “My teachers knew me well enough to know that I wasn’t a nurse or a teacher. I had always excelled at numbers, and commerce seemed like a good fit.”
The jump into university was another jarring step, a leap out of her quaint prairie home and into a big city hours away from friends and family. Rather than ease into her new surroundings by settling into residences or finding comfortable roommates, Delainey doubled-down on her newfound independence.
“I decided to live off-campus first year in a basement suite, so I was living alone,” Delainey said. “It was really scary. Eighteen was hard. I knew it was going to be different, and just took that into consideration.”
The result was a continued push into her studies, which led Delainey to numerous successes. Delainey, who is Métis, has received four major awards and scholarships—including an Edwards Undergraduate Scholarship as well as an Aboriginal Leadership Award for tutoring students in the Kanawayihetaytan Askiy (KA) program—each of which contributed to her sharp attention on school.
“One scholarship had a stipulation on it that I had to have an 80 per cent cumulative average to keep getting it,” she said. “I knew then that I wouldn’t get a part-time job, I won’t do any of those things. I’ll just focus on school.”
Delainey’s later years included a co-op term with EY—formerly Ernst and Young LLP—which she went on to leverage into full-time accountant work after completing her classes.
On May 3, Delainey returned to the U of S to begin a master’s accounting program in Edwards. She’s no longer the fresh-eyed undergraduate she was when she first left, and she has plenty of advice that new students could use to make their time on campus as successful, exciting and boundless as hers has been.
“Walking onto campus has always made me feel like anything is possible,” she said. “There’s an opportunity here for everyone—an opportunity to find yourself, to become whoever you want to be. New students should try and remember that, even though it’s scary not knowing where the next four years will take you, it’s also incredibly freeing.
“Embrace not knowing. Try new things. Talk to the person next to you in math class. Dive in and try to accept the unexpected turns your university career may take.”