2021 Scholarship Recipient
Scholarship Amount: $10,000
School: University of Waterloo
Program: Political Science
You never know when the worst day of your life may arrive and just how much your world can be thrown upside down. My father unexpectedly passed away in 2018, during the first term of my university career. Despite his own battles with alcohol abuse, he was the epitome of kindness and generosity and was always there to support me through my life decisions. After my fathers passing, we came to the harsh realization that he did not have life insurance. With my mother being out of the picture due to mental illness, my siblings and I had to come up with other ways in which to raise money for a funeral, burial and other unexpected expenses. This was looking to be an impossible task. However, after much persistence, dozens of phone calls, donations and emails, I was able to give my father the proper funeral he deserved. Losing a parent at any age is extremely hard, but given the fact that I was entering a hugely transformative time of my life made it that much harder. I felt alone and hopeless, not to mention financially unstable, causing me to contemplate dropping out of school. Despite my feeling of hopelessness, I remembered my fathers respect towards education, especially demonstrated to me the last few years before his passing. My father had never completed high school, but using me as his inspiration he participated in night classes and after a lot of hard work we both graduated high school on the same day. Before his passing, he was in the process of completing a college diploma.
His dedication to pursuing further education is what ultimately inspired me to continue my education in his image. With the help of various professors, colleagues and the University of Waterloo's resources, I was able to continue my undergraduate degree. I am currently a third-year political science student and I have maintained a high GPA and continue to see improvements with every term. While academics take up the majority of my time, I continue to prioritize my physical health which includes climbing (bouldering, route climbing) and running. Since 2018 I have been financially independent, but continue to provide financial support to my siblings and mother. I have been working full time in the summers and part-time throughout the school terms as a banquet server. However, the pandemic has made it difficult to keep any part-time job therefore I believe this scholarship would relieve some of the financial stress that comes along with being a financially independent, full-time student. This award would provide help with many expenses and allow me to perform better academically this year and in future years. Despite my fathers passing, his determination to continue his education inspired me then and inspires me now. After my undergrad, I plan to complete a masters degree in International Relations or Environmental Resources Sustainability. Through my experience, I have learned that with the worst day of your life, comes the promise that tomorrow will bring better things.