It’s weird being officially done undergrad. It has been a bumpy five year ride that for sure. I’m so thankful for many of the people that have come into and may have left my life. I truly believe that everyone comes into your life for one reason or another and I’m glad to have had the opportunity to have met as many people as I have had the chance to meet. It was incredibly inspiring to have been at the same ceremony as Dr. Amartya Sen as he received his honorary doctorate degree. Having taken so many Global Studies courses in my first two years, it was in a way a comforting and sentimental way to end my undergraduate experience. It was also incredibly enlightening to take part in such a deeply routed tradition (aka the 305th Convocation that stemmed from Medieval tradition) with my fellow peers and be surrounded by so much love from all those family, friends, and significant others celebrating the hard work and commitment it took for all of us to cross that stage, whether it took 3 years, 4 years, 5 years or more to make it happen. We did it. We did it and the immense pride I have in watching not only my friends cross the stage and be hooded or even acquaintances was a completely unforgettable experience.
I’m glad that my hard work and perseverance kept me afloat during my four years at Western. Although my third year was by far the most difficult, I managed to pull through and accomplish the year and graduate on time with my class. Although my third year was the toughest emotionally and physically, I pushed through and that’s something I should be taking great strides in having accomplished regardless of the fact that my cumulative GPA (cGPA) dropped over 3%. Luckily, i finished my fourth year on a high note and managed to bring my cGPA back up to 80% although that was all thanks to my hard work and dedication and the support of my family and friends. I’ll miss the grounds of Western though, i have no regrets how my educational journey played out. How five years ago I thought I would be chasing my dreams as and Urban Planner at the University of Waterloo, then transferring into pursuing a career in health doing a 4 years Honors Specialization program in Health Sciences at the University of Western Ontario. If there was one thing I could tell my 17 year old self, it would be to pick what YOU want and don’t be pushed around to accept what others have to say. When I first stepped into Waterloo I did it because that’s what other people felt was best for me, not what I wanted and I found myself unhappy and unmotivated (although I did well) to move towards the future. Pursing a degree I loved at a school I had always dreamed of going helped to awaken me and find my passion in health policy, health advocacy, ethics, and law. I embrace my time with the International and Exchange Student Centre helping close to a dozen international students and exchange students settle into the Western community, while served as Vice President of Academics for over 3 years on my programs student council pushing for the student voice to be heard at the administration levels and academic opportunities be provided to my fellow peers in a position that gave me access to over 1300 students. I also can’t forget my experience on the Western Dragon Boat Team, as team that essentially became a highlight of my time at Western. I had never been so excited or motivated to work out 3-5 times a week with a bunch of similarly motivated people who excelled not only athletically, but academically as well. I had never felt so alive during my time at Western and I will miss that opportunity greatly as I transition into my new life. The people I met on that team are going to go on to do great things and similar to the people I have managed to meet at other clubs or committees will continue to shape who I have become.
It’s weird not knowing exactly what the fall will hold for me. Currently I will be attending King’s College London at the University of London in the fall and transporting myself to London, England to live out the year to pursue my MA in Medical Ethics and Law. The thought is incredibly exciting and daunting at the same time. It’s scary to realize i’ll be completely on my own (physically) after having had the support of my sister while studying at Western University for three out of my four years there. It’s also a bit distressing to leave home and be so far from the parents who have been there every step of the way both seeing my recovery from my battle with severe depression in my third year of study. Let alone leaving behind the boyfriend and friends that I have been able to look forward to seeing on a daily basis. While I know most people would say that I am young and and the adventure I am about to embark on is a once in a lifetime opportunity, it’s still scary to leave the safe haven I was raised in being surrounded by the “known” or “expected” events I was dealt with. It’s just different knowing that I won’t have access to the same kind of support being so far from home. I know things will probably fall into place on their own, but it’s just scary watching change unfold. It’s human nature to not embrace change openly and I need to learn to accept challenge. I need to accept that it’s going to be a scary/exciting/terrifying/eye-opening experience and not one that many can afford or have the opportunity to pursue.