Second semester has flown by and it is just starting to sink in that I am officially done my first year of university.
My courses for this past semester have continued to engage and interest me. I had been excited to take ENGL 199W (Introduction to University Writing), and although it was a lot of work, the content was invaluable. With this course, I gained confidence in my ability to write and communicate like a scholar, to produce work that met the standards of the university level. Highlights of the course included writing my first ever research paper as well as transforming a nursery rhyme (Jack and Jill in my case) into an academic text (a research proposal).
My friends have been with me in every step of my growth as a university student. I have met my best friends in the small residence community, friends who understand the demands of university and support me through everything. That has been the biggest reward I’ve received living in residence and I thank Mr. Schulich and his generosity for making it possible.
In the professional fraternity of premedical students, Phi Delta Epsilon, I have built a network of like-minded individuals with whom I study and spend free time with. A group of us volunteer weekly at University Highlands elementary school. We work with grade one and two students on their Learning In Depth program. Here, each student ha s been assigned a topic, such as insects, that they research. This topic follows them through elementary school and through high school as well, so that they can become experts on the subject. As volunteers, we guide the students and help clarify any questions they may have. On the first day, I worked with a boy named Brandon on the topic of water. I had difficulty answering the questions his inquisitive mind came up with. The first question he asked me was what water was made of. In my mind, I recalled the molecular structure of water: two hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom connected by hydrogen bonds. But as I looked at him, I couldn’t think of a better way to answer his question! To this day, I still have no good answer when he asks me! He also tried to convince me that water was blue. I ran some water from the tap to show him that it was colorless. Yet, to my surprise, he replied, “It looks blue to me”. Eventually (after some intense persuasion), he came around. Volunteering with these children has been extremely fun and seeing their knowledge grow has been very rewarding. I am definitely continuing come September.
Aside from being more active in my community, I have also taken on a larger role in my university. Just a few days ago, I spoke at SFU’s Entrance Scholarship Reception, an event held to honor and congratulate the SFU major scholarship winners coming out of high school. I had attended the event as a scholarship recipient last year and remembered looking up to the accomplished university students. So it was an out-of-body experience to be on the other side of things, meeting some of the brightest minds Canada has to offer. I met so many amazing grade 12 students and their families, and had the chance to share my university experience. Listening to their questions, it brought a smile to my face to hear questions that I myself had posed last year. A surreal moment came during the reception when I was spotted by a young man who came up and shook my hand. He told me that he was the Schulich Leader Scholarship recipient for SFU this year. We spent a lot of time talking and get ting to know each other. We immediately developed a friendship, connected by the Schulich Leader Scholarship.
This past semester has been a time where I feel have truly blossomed; I have continued to grow academically, but I have also grown as a person, building connections with others and developing my leadership skills. I believe that university is not just a place of academics, but a place where one grows to become ready for life. This first year has been a major step in my growth, and it has been nothing short of a dream. I want to once again thank Mr. Schulich and everyone working at the Schulich Leader Scholarships for giving me this opportunity.