Meet Gideone Kremler, Our New CMNS Indigenous Peer Mentor

December 13, 2022

Meet Gideone Kremler, our new CMNS Indigenous Peer Mentor. He is a fourth year student who is pursuing a degree in Communication and Educational Psychology.

He and his twin brother Zairech are from Victoria and chose SFU to be close to their family. Gideone also plays for the Red Leafs football team, a space, he notes, that exudes the feeling of family. He hopes to create a home in Coquitlam or Burnaby alongside his two brothers, cousin, and friends that he's met along his SFU journey.

We sat down with Gideone to chat about his School of Communication adventures.

You're the new CMNS Indigenous Peer Mentor. What does that mean to you?

Mentorship is no easy task, but an incredibly rewarding one, nonetheless. I pride myself on being a pillar of support for the people in my life as well as people simply passing through. By taking on the position of Indigenous Peer Mentor, I hope to bring some of this stability and accountability to students who may not have been given enough support emotionally or educationally. Every individual person is struggling, finding someone to keep you upright in these moments is the effect I hope to have on my peers.

What is the most rewarding part of being a CMNS student?

Most people don’t fully comprehend how big of a skill communicating really is. In our everyday lives we communicate back and forth nonstop. I’ve found through my studies in communications and my experiences in everyday life, that not everybody understands the importance of the skill. Skilled communicators can debate without arguing, listen without talking, and share without being condescending. These are aspects of communications on a physical level that show face in the world every day. Being able to navigate uncomfortable conversations, have hard talks with friends, reason arguments out, or simply keep my own thoughts in check are all incredibly valuable skills I’ve acquired here in my studies at SFU.

What was your transition into university like?

I am incredibly thankful for my parents and brothers who made the transition into university far easier to manage than I could on my own. I am fortunate enough to have begun my university life with my twin brother Zairech and older brother Justice. Although Justice has finished school now, he was my tour guide, meal planner, and calendar for my first year of university. He made sure to keep me on my toes with school and showed me some tips and tricks for writing my university essays. Now although the workload and difficulty increased tremendously from high school, I found managing my time well, being punctual, and keeping a consistent diet were paramount to my success in first year.

What are your future aspirations?

Finding a way to include my hobbies, skills, and passions into my future career is something I often think about. I know I would love to coach, I know I would love to teach, and I know I would love to help others, but in the meantime, my hopes are high. I’ll be entering my fifth year of schooling next year and playing my second last season of football for SFU. In an ideal world, my football and school journeys at SFU come to an end and I can play professional sports for some time OR I’m able to help assist on a semi-pro or pro team as a coach. By the end of it all though, I hope to be teaching/mentoring children, teens, or adults who need some positivity in their life.

What advice do you have for students trying to maintain a healthy work-school-life balance?

Having a calendar on your wall is a life saver! Oftentimes university deadlines sneak up on you as the semester moves by super fast. Being able to see and know for certain how your day, week, or month lines up is incredibly beneficial when you want to plan regular social events with friends. In regards to work, keep a very open and clear line of communication between yourself and your boss. Keeping them aware of your schedule will not only keep you in good standing with them, but it also makes asking for time off to study for an exam much easier. Last but not least, sometimes it’s okay to let the schoolwork wait a night to enjoy yourself with some friends. We aren’t getting any younger and the schoolwork isn’t going anywhere, I promise!

What are your favourite CMNS coureses and why?

Communications 210 Media History was a lovely course. My professor Cait Mckinney was delightful and brought an energy to the classroom each morning that isn’t seen nearly enough on university campuses. The content of the course started somewhat slowly as we laid the groundwork for the later classes, but as we branched into modern media and how communications has evolved, the effects of such developments became much clearer. It is fascinating to gain an understanding of how far we as a society have progressed. From where we started to where we find ourselves now, is almost like observing two different planets.

How have your CMNS skills helped with being an Indigenous Peer Mentor?

I’ve found that my communication skills, coupled with a bit of a natural knack for talking, have landed me some pretty amazing opportunities, including the Indigenous Peer Mentor position mentioned. Talking with people you don’t know can be very uncomfortable for some, but it is often necessary when trying something new, or getting outside of your comfort zone in general. The skills I’ve learned studying communications have helped me organize my own thoughts in situations where anxiety often gets the best of me, and it has allowed me the ability to understand when I myself am not conveying or receiving the intended message. It is the planning, structure, organizational skills, and literary skills that I’ve taken with me from school into my working life that keep me more prepared going into the next meeting.

What have you learned about yourself during your time so far here at SFU?

Although this is going to start quite sad, I promise it gets better. One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced since coming to SFU, is dealing with the fact of being alone. Of course I have family here and I have friends, but I am no longer encased by the bubble that is my hometown. I am on my own schedule, making my own food, dealing with my own thoughts. Many of us find ourselves here and it is not to be thought of as incredibly negative, but rather one simply finding their way. As I worried about this week in and week out, I began to reframe my thinking. It isn’t that “I’m alone”, but rather “what is stopping me from enjoying being alone?”. I learned in my own heart that being alone wasn't detrimental, I just prefer having and seeing the support around me. This doesn’t mean I can’t learn how to be alone though. Just as university schoolwork is a learning curve, so is the social aspect of life. Being okay with my surroundings changing and finding consistency in myself, helped me move from a mind frame of sadness to one far more accustomed to laughing and smiling.