For me, watching London transform almost overnight from a tranquil community to a lively city rife with the hustle and bustle of refreshed university students is one of my favourite times of the year. The arrival of September seems to breathe new life into the city; local shops are open longer, people are plentiful, and a once empty downtown is now brimming with old friends catching up after an extended summer break. It goes without saying that stepping back onto the Western campus, once more surrounded by over 30 000 peers, is tremendously uplifting.
As a second year Biological and Medical Sciences student in the Pathology and Toxicology module, I was no doubt excited for my new courses. Organic chemistry, Scientific Methods, Biochemistry, Physiology, my Scholar’s Electives research course – these were purported by many to be harder, more applicable, and best of all, filled with new material. These claims proved true throughout the semester, and I was thoroughly intrigued by my classes and motivated by my professors. By far my most intellectually-stimulating course is my Scholar’s Electives course, in which I conduct research with a faculty member and submit reports and presentations detailing my findings. My project investigates a lethal genetic disorder found in the Old Order Amish; I hope to uncover the causative mutation and elucidate the associated genetic pathway. As a result of working in this lab, I have had the privilege of meeting inspirational researchers, and have been able to expand my scien tific knowledge and critical thinking skills. My lab work is an excellent complement to my course material; I have developed a growing fondness for the once-foreign experimental techniques printed in my textbook, and I commonly see familiar concepts in my lectures. Not to mention I bumped into Martin Sheen during a routine lab visit; real world science is full of surprises. ;)
Apart from my academic endeavours, I am heavily involved in Western’s and London’s Red Cross groups, as well as Operation Smile, London Science Fair, and Western Dragon boat. I am also a mentor for the Leadership and Mentorship and Scholar’s Electives Programs, where I help first years transition into university. Gurleen (the other 2012 Schulich Leader) and I also enjoyed lunch with the two newest additions to the Western Schulich Leaders family, Blake and Flora. We are all really loving our time at Western, and looking forward to an incredible year ahead.