Erin’s life trajectory thus far as been full of experiences, including moving to a new province and starting full-time work while finishing her Master’s. These experiences have also been full of lessons, like discovering that she is fiercely independent, able to juggle all that life throws at her, and say “I got this” to anything new that gets thrown her way. The biggest lesson she has learned thus far, however, is much simpler - if you love yourself, and have love from those you cherish most, the rest is gravy.
Janelle always wanted to help people, specifically in a health care context, but wasn’t fully sure how. After realizing that becoming a doctor wasn’t what she wanted to do, Janelle did, and became, so much more. Now as a researcher with a Masters and soon pursuing a PhD, Janelle faced rejection, met (and networked) with many researchers and friends, and used all the lessons learned from others to inform her experiences. Now, as a mentor, she knows that she has more power than she originally thought - and is teaching others the same.
For Lauren, doing a Master’s was not what she expected. With so many timelines up in the air, no real preparation for what a research Master’s involves, and significantly less structure, Lauren realized that she wasn’t meant to do research. After reflecting on her mental health and priorities for herself, she left grad school, and became a nurse. Little did she know that the majority of her nursing career (thus far) would be caring in a pandemic, where her care for COVID patients has helped her understand that her experience in grad school taught her many lessons that has led her to where she wants to be.
On her journey to becoming an occupational therapist, Sarah learned how to embrace and trust life's timing. Rejection from Canadian universities created an opportunity for redirection - including a plane ride over to Scotland. Looking back on her time in graduate school, Sarah can now see the lessons she's learned, the real life application of skills shared between her research and clinical worlds, the impact of the people and places (and sometimes spiders) around her, and how it's all shaped her to be the person of contrast she is today.
TW: Mentions of depression, anxiety, suicide
Jeremy was going to be a professional wrestler. The kind you see on TV - jumping from the ropes, on top of ladders, or using fold-up chairs and circuitboards as weapons. He realized that maybe this isn’t the kind of wrestling he was meant to do. As someone who thrives in the grey spaces of our lives, Jeremy’s new love became adolescent literature, specifically focusing on mental health and being a productive member of a capitalist society. Through his story reading, storytelling, and teaching on the power of stories, he hopes to continue to help others find the stories they were meant to read.
Shannon never wanted to go to university - she wanted to be a ballerina. But after she sustaining an injury, everything flipped. In university, she realized that people were more interested in her thoughts and opinions than what she was expressing or doing with her body. This realization awakened her love of learning, and Shannon became involved in Student Life, knowing the value of being a student leader. However, she also learned that others’ perceptions of student “value” differs. What happens when value is only assigned based on your ability to work? And what does that mean for life beyond student life? Shannon’s working on understanding “work” and what it means to be someone who is holistic, embodied, and more than their ability to do work.
Like many of her friends, Maisha wanted to go to medical school. The first time she got rejected, she didn’t think much of it – it was a practice round. But by the time her second round of applications started getting rejected, she took a different path. Going to grad school, at first, was really difficult – being in an environment that wasn’t good for her, and not knowing anyone had her questioning her decision. But after sticking to her morals and trusting the universe, she switched supervisors, and has now come to the realization that the work she’s currently doing is what she was meant to do – and she’s so excited to keep fostering new friends and networks along the way.
While spending a lot of time living, learning, and immersing himself in different countries and continents, Sreekar’s love for sports has been a constant. While the popular athletes he watches are by no means overrated, his research explores weird magnets in a field often underrated – condensed matter physics. Breaking down stereotypes about theoretical physicists portrayed in some popular shows, Sreekar dwells on what it means to be a scientist, and how to approach life’s problems with naïve optimism. The one most important thing he’s learned throughout his experiences is something easily translatable across the languages and countries he knows – simply put, that everyone’s just trying to “have a nice”.
Although Aunima didn’t end up joining Doctors Without Borders, she ended up crossing many borders herself. From living in five different countries to learning to climb and cook, Aunima realized a common thread of curiosity and exploration of people and places around her. She finds herself driven by the collective action to support change in our health systems. She hopes that this action, these life experiences, and her adventurous spirit combined may one day lead to her dream – living in the mountains with her greenhouse full of plants.