In The Media

I finished first year yesterday

By Grace Wang • Schulich Leader at Western University
Spring 2013
Grace Wang

I’m in a daze though: sitting in my cozy residence room, my home away from home, I’m only realizing now how swiftly this year has gone by. Time really does fly when you’re having fun.

First year at Western University has been even better than what I imagined it to be. I love every single tidbit of my experiences this year; it is here that I have found my calling, found my community, found myself. I honestly cannot see myself being anywhere else. And as I hesitantly fold away my clothes and strip my walls bare of the photos and memories of the year, my mind wanders to the first day of university, when a bunch of goofy teens started the journey into adulthood. And I must say, we’re definitely on our way there. :)

Residence life really makes or breaks the student experience. For me, there is no question that living in residence was one of the best decisions I’ve made so far – the sense of belonging I feel here simply cannot be put into words. I love my roommates, my floor mates, my sophs, my don, the independence, the nights out, the heart-to-hearts, the late-night excursions for “munchies”, and even the attempts at cooking (which are more often disastrous than not). And although helping people move out is heartbreaking, I know that we will keep in touch over the years to come: the friendships we have kindled here are lifelong, we’re family now. :)

Moving to the more academic side of things now: this year I took Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Calculus, Statistics, Psychology, and a Scholar’s Electives course on Historical Redress. I’ve really enjoyed my university courses, especially Biology, Chemistry, and Calculus, and the endlessly growing interest I possess for these subjects has really reinforced my future career aspirations in medicine or research. Furthermore, as part of the Scholar’s Electives program, I will be pursuing scientific research next year under the mentorship of a Western Science faculty member. I have no doubt that these experiences will complement and elaborate on my second year studies, and really broaden my understanding of real-world research.

While the course load in university is unquestionably heavier, over the course of the year I have improved on my time management skills so as to allow myself the opportunity to keep up with my classes as well as pursue a wide variety of extracurricular activities. Immersing myself in my community, both at Western and in the city of London, represents an integral part of my identity. In the London community, I coordinated volunteers for the annual London District Science and Technology Fair, and ran fundraisers and awareness events as part of the London Red Cross Youth Group. At Western, I volunteered with Friends of Médecins Sans Frontières, Western Operation Smile, and Western Red Cross Society, in which I will be organizing events as VP External next year. I will also be pursuing positions as a Scholar’s Connector and a peer mentor for the Leadership and Mentorship Program, where I will guide incoming students as they transition into first year.

As an ending note, I would like to thank Mr. Schulich, the Seymour Schulich Foundation, the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, as well as everyone on the Schulich Leader Scholarship team for making all of this possible. This year has been such an extraordinary experience, and I have truly grown in every way imaginable. I’ve loved every moment of my first year university experience, and while packing up to leave is bittersweet, I am so excited to climb aboard the even more spectacular roller coaster that will be second year. :D