As my first term of university comes to a close, I reminisce the late nights, mini panic attacks, and pre-exam memories that mark this first taste of post-secondary life. However amidst the busyness and seemingly stressful encounters, I can’t even begin to count the hearty laughs and productive moments I’ve had with all the wonderfully talented people I’ve met along the way. Whether it be my science undergraduate society (SUS) councillors or classmates from my STEM courses, I am so incredibly grateful for the unexpected friendships I’ve formed in just four short months.
It’s worthwhile to listen when people advise you to surround yourself with like-minded friends because for the first time in a long time, I’ve met individuals who not only reciprocate a passion for academic studies but people who are driven to advocate for something larger than themselves. As a newly elected member in UBC’s SUS, I happily spend my lunchtimes discussing project proposals and administrative conflicts; as well as planning for upcoming events and activities for the science student body. As councillor, it is also my privilege to sit on the Science Academic Committee and on the Faculty of Science Council along with the Dean to advise on exam policies and learn about the various departments and elements that come together to form a fully functioning university.
With the limitless opportunities at UBC, I’ve also chosen to start on a new research project under the guidance of a doctorate student in researching the effects physical exercise have on telomere length and the implications this may have on cancer risks. KidsCan, the team of youth partners and advisors I am part of at the Child and Family Research Institute has also continued advising for different research projects over the past few months. We will also be travelling to Washington D.C. next June to collaborate with the International Children’s Advisory Network on patient advocacy and protocols for paediatric research and clinical trials.
Outside of academia, I had the amazing opportunity to speak at We Day Vancouver 2014 about the Humanitarian Organization for Providing Empowerment, a youth-led program I spearheaded in high school. This year, our ‘Warmth of the Winter’ project will bring wool blankets to members of our community who have to endure harsh winter nights on the streets of Vancouver, particularly in the downtown Eastside. We are also hoping to share their personal stories through an online profile with captioned photos in efforts to break stereotypes surrounding homelessness in our city.
With these projects underway, it looks as though I will have yet another season of busyness and undoubtedly, mini panic attacks. And although these descriptions come with their own negative connotations, it is often these exact feelings that serve to remind us of the things that truly matter and the scale at which we want these ideas to impact the people around us.