Laura Eamon had a promising future when she enrolled at Carleton University in Ottawa in 2011. But her dreams of getting a degree were soon shattered by her alcohol addiction. She failed several classes, blacked out frequently and ended up in the hospital after a residence party. She dropped out of university in early 2012 and moved back home, where she continued drinking and working low-paying jobs.Embed from Getty Images
But Eamon’s life took a dramatic turn when she decided to quit alcohol for good on Nov. 9, 2013. She got a diploma in medical office administration and started working in the health-care system. She also applied to Saint Mary’s University in Halifax in 2017, hoping for a bigger challenge.
She found it—and more. Eamon excelled academically and became the valedictorian for the commerce faculty’s convocation in 2023. She graduated with summa cum laude distinction and an economics major. She also received a Frank H. Sobey scholarship worth $35,000, one of nine given out annually to undergraduate business students in Atlantic Canada.
Eamon’s achievements are even more remarkable considering her personal life. She got married and became a stepmom to two kids. She also volunteered for various causes and spoke publicly about her sobriety journey, including on a podcast and at an alcohol policy forum in Nova Scotia.Embed from Getty Images
In her valedictorian speech, Eamon shared her inspiring message with her fellow graduates: “It doesn’t matter how old you are, what has happened in your past, your sunk costs, how many years you spent doing the status quo, you can shake it up, you can change course.”
She said she felt secure enough in her sobriety to talk about it openly and help others who might be struggling with addiction. “It’s really awesome that I feel secure in my sobriety enough to talk about it a lot more,” she said.
Eamon also expressed gratitude for the opportunity to pursue higher education and honor the sacrifices of those who fought for freedom. She cited the example of the Canadian navy sailors and merchant mariners who died during the Battle of the Atlantic, the longest battle of World War II. “Without their sacrifice there would be no world as we know it today,” she said.
Eamon’s story is one of resilience, courage and determination. She overcame her alcoholism and achieved academic excellence. She also found love, family and purpose. She summed up her feelings in one sentence: “The culmination of all of my time at Carleton, at Nova Scotia Community College, at Saint Mary’s, just like everything coming together.”
- She left university because of a drinking problem. Now sober, she’s a valedictorian | CBC News Nova Scotia | May 07, 2023
- She left university because of a drinking problem. Now sober, she’s a valedictorian | Yahoo News Canada | May 07, 2023
- She left university because of a drinking problem. Now sober, she’s a valedictorian | PressReader | May 07, 2023