The end of a school year: My experience as a Bioinformatics student and a Dino
My first year at University of Calgary is coming to an end. It was a year that turned out to be quite different than what I initially expected, but overall, was an exceptional year both academically and in extracurricular activities. Upon entering the university, I was enrolled in Biomedical Sciences, and I was almost certain of the path I was going to take in my post-secondary education. However, after only two months of being in university, I found myself interested in learning computer programming, and I also understood what an amazing tool it would be for conducting medical research in the future. Therefore, I decided to join the Bioinformatics program. I did realize that I would be behind in some computer programming and math classes, but I made the switch, and became a Bioinformatics student.
In order to catch up on my Bioinformatics courses faster, I decided to take 6 courses in the second semester. Computer Science 231 was my introduction to programming, and it did not take long for the course to become my favourite course of the year. I gained many valuable programing skills, but I think the most important thing I learned this semester from the course was not exactly programming in python language. It was rather learning a better, more efficient way of thinking, breaking problems down into smaller pieces and finding the best way to approach solving them. I am looking forward to taking more advanced computer science and bioinformatics courses in my future years.
One of the most unique experiences I had this semester was taking part in a Bachelor of Health Sciences program review. I had the chance to meet with four other classmates, and a team of both external and internal reviewers in order to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the BHSc (Bachelor of Health Sciences) program. The review team included professors from faculty of medicine, faculty of science, and also other universities. I was extremely glad to participate in this review, because it provided me with the opportunity to present my ideas and learn about other’s opinions on how to make the BHSc program stronger in the upcoming years. I also learned about how BHSc program at University of Calgary compares to other similar programs offered by other universities, and how we could learn from those programs in order to make BHSc stronger.
I found that in addition to academics, extracurricular activities enhanced my first year university experience. I find myself very fortunate for being a member of the University of Calgary Dinos track and field team. It gave me the chance to train with the most amazing and supportive teammates and coach. Training with this group almost everyday made my first year experience much more enjoyable. In addition, one of the most special moments of the year for me came in January when I had my first Track and Field competition as a Dino. Being a member of the Dinos family motivated me to always put in my strongest effort and to try to reach my fullest potential in every aspect of life. Furthermore, by learning about the time and effort all the coaches put in helping the team as volunteers, I decided to give back to my community by coaching Track and Field at the high school I graduated from. I have been able to improve my communication and leadership skills, while providing service in a field I am truly passionate about. I take pride in calling myself a Dino, both on and off the campus, and I am very excited about starting my second year in a few months.