USask art student is a champion of compassion and reconciliation

USask art student is a champion of compassion and reconciliation
USask art student is a champion of compassion and reconciliation

What are your goals for the future?

My immediate goal was to be accepted into medical school at the University of Saskatchewan. This step is crucial for me as it aligns with my long-term ambition to become a physician who embodies compassion and advocacy, especially in bridging the healthcare gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. In addition to professional ambitions, I envision a future in which I can maintain a harmonious balance between my career and private life. I believe in the importance of maintaining relationships with friends and family, as these bonds are fundamental to one’s well-being and resilience. Achieving this balance is a testament to the holistic approach I want to bring to my practice as a physician, ensuring I live by the principles of care, community and personal growth that I advocate.

If you were to give a first-year student advice about pursuing post-secondary school, what would you tell him/her?

The transition to college life is a significant milestone, often accompanied by a series of challenges and overwhelming moments. It is essential to recognize that feeling overwhelmed is a natural part of adjusting to this new phase of life. I would advise first-year students to give themselves grace during this transition period. Emphasizing the importance of grades should not overshadow the equally crucial process of personal discovery and growth. Participating in various clubs and activities on campus can provide a sense of community and belonging, and provide a supportive environment for exploration and development. These experiences are invaluable because they allow you to grow as an individual, discover new interests, and build connections that will last a lifetime. Remember that the college journey is not just about academic achievement, but also about becoming a well-rounded individual equipped to make a meaningful contribution to your community.

You are involved in many things: you are a student, a tutor and a teaching assistant. How do you balance all that?

Balancing the demands of being a student, a peer mentor in the arts and sciences, and managing part-time work requires a considered and organized approach. For me, the key is to meticulously plan my days and weeks so that I can ensure that I allocate time efficiently across my various commitments. This method involves not only keeping up with academic deadlines, but also setting aside time for club activities, mentoring sessions, and personal well-being. Such planning allows me to stay engaged and fulfill my responsibilities without compromising the quality of my work or my health. It’s a delicate balance that requires constant adjustment and prioritization, and reflects a broader life skill that I believe is essential for anyone who wants to manage multiple roles effectively.

You will receive an award for resilience; what does that word mean to you?

Being recognized with a Resilience Award is an immense honor that has personal significance. For me, resilience is the ability to face adversity, learn from it, and emerge stronger and more determined. It embodies the journey of overcoming personal and academic challenges through perseverance and a positive attitude. This award symbolizes recognition of the hard work, determination, and hope that have marked my path thus far. It recognizes the struggles and the strength it takes to overcome them, striving for a better future, not only for yourself but also for your community. Resilience in this context is a testament to the collective endurance and spirit of those who have faced and overcome obstacles in the pursuit of their goals.

Can you tell me what it means to you to be a compassionate doctor committed to reconciliation?

For me, striving to be a compassionate physician in the context of reconciliation means recognizing and understanding the historical and ongoing injustices that Indigenous communities face. It means integrating this awareness into my medical practice to foster an environment of trust, respect, and mutual learning. Compassion and reconciliation are inextricably linked because healing cannot occur without a genuine understanding and acknowledgement of past harms. My commitment to compassionate reconciliation involves advocating for and implementing health care practices that respect Indigenous knowledge and traditions, with the goal of restoring and strengthening the relationship between Indigenous peoples and the broader medical community. It is about moving forward with concrete actions that address inequities and work toward equitable health care for all.

What inspires you to improve mental health, understanding and healing in your communities?

My motivation to advocate for improvements in mental health within my community stems from personal and family experiences with mental illness. These experiences have not only shaped my understanding of the complexities surrounding mental health, but have also fueled my passion for psychology and mental wellbeing. Witnessing first-hand the challenges and impact of mental health conditions, combined with the resilience and strength of those affected, drives my dedication to this cause. The path to improving mental health care involves fostering open dialogues that can break down stigma and increase understanding. It is about ensuring that everyone, especially the most vulnerable, has access to the resources and support they need. My ambition is to help create a future where mental health is prioritized and there are comprehensive support systems in place for everyone who needs it.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Receiving this award is not only a personal honor, but a moment of pride that reflects the University of Saskatchewan’s commitment to celebrating and supporting the achievements of Indigenous people. I am grateful for this recognition and for the opportunity to highlight the importance of Indigenous perspectives and contributions within academia and beyond. It is a testament to the progress being made toward a more inclusive and equitable education environment. I hope my journey can inspire others to pursue their passions, advocate for meaningful change, and contribute to a world that values ​​diversity, equality, and reconciliation.