I thought that my journey with postsecondary education was done when I dropped out of UBC after only two years of bachelor’s studies. So, years later, when I walked across that convocation stage as a Sheridan BBA graduate, it was initially a surreal moment that I had never imagined before. But pretty quickly it hit me, like whoa, this is actually real, and I was overcome by a deep sense of accomplishment.
After I dropped out of UBC, I wasn’t really doing anything for two years. In that time, I made the lifechanging decision to begin learning about the Sikh religion, and was initiated into it. Knowing what it means to be a Sikh helped me to change a lot of aspects within my personal life. One of the values of the Sikh religion is earning an honest living and using your earnings to help others. That pushed me to the realization that I need to take care of myself before I can go out and take care of other people. I needed to equip myself with what’s necessary to have the impact that I want, which guided me towards getting my bachelor's degree in Sheridan’s BBA program.
This was my second shot, and I wanted to do everything right. That meant that I was going to do everything the exact opposite of what I did before. My first school was far from home, so I chose Sheridan, which was close. I was very antisocial and didn’t get involved in co-curricular activities previously, but I was determined to get involved as much as I could this time. I was going to raise my hand, answer questions, go to every class, do all my homework—and see where it goes. I didn’t want to go back to what I was before. Prior to becoming a Sikh, my life was just negative. I wasn’t productive; I was careless and I was irresponsible. Going into the next stage of my life, I was going to do the positive. It has taken some discipline, but my religion has guided me through it. A change in lifestyle does not happen in a day though. It’s a lifelong process of learning and trying to be better.
Looking at my life now, I think the results speak for themselves. I now work as the BBA Student Advisor at Sheridan. My journey of self-growth has grown into a passion for serving others, and I am now in a role where I can make a positive impact. I am passionate about challenging injustices, and I strive to create an equitable environment for all. Within my department, I'm usually one of the first to identify areas of growth, especially when it comes to service equity. I speak out because I care, and it doesn’t come from a place of wanting to make myself look better or step on anyone’s toes. I just want everyone to have the best Sheridan experience possible.
(Interviewed and written by Hazel Mekkattukulam; photo by Nolan Brinson)