In News & Blog, Peer Profiles, SCI BC News

Last year, Spinal Cord Injury BC was proud to announce that the GRAGOPEAN Scholarship Trust would provide over $83,000 in scholastic funding through a partnership with the Vancouver Foundation. We recently caught up with a few of the deserving recipients to to see how the funding has impacted their lives.

FIONA MA

fiona-ma

What are you currently studying?

I am currently working on my Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the British Columbia Institute of Technology.

Why did you choose this program?

I spent a lot of time at BC Children’s Hospital while growing up. When it was time for me to graduate high school, I wanted to do something that would make an impact on the lives of others. I believed that my personal experience with hospitalization and the barriers I had to overcome due to my birth defect, would allow me to connect with paediatric patients and give me the ability to provide them with better care. I am currently doing my final preceptorship at BC Children’s Hospital and I hope to work as a Registered Nurse there once I graduate.

How has receiving the GRAGOPEAN Scholarship Trust helped you purse your academic and personal goals?

Receiving the GRAGOPEAN Scholarship Trust from Spinal Cord Injury BC has allowed me to cut down my hours at my part-time job so that I can focus on my academics, as well as pursue my extracurricular interests in mental health advocacy. Being able to work less has given me the time needed to study for my speciality courses and it has definitely played a role in my acceptance into the paediatric speciality. It has also provided me with the opportunity to focus on my mental health advocacy, because I am able to use my free time to take on the role of a network representative for Jack.Org (Canada’s only youth mental health charity). I’ve been able to speak at high schools about mental health and represent the organization at summits and conferences.

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I hope that I will be able to use my education to make positive changes in the lives of others.

How do you hope to use this education to pursue future goals?

I hope that I will be able to use my education to make positive changes in the lives of others, whether it be through provision of care during hospitalization or health/mental health education. Working at BC Children’s Hospital has been a goal of mine since high school and my education brings me one step close to achieving it.

What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned since receiving the scholarship and starting school?

I think the greatest lesson I’ve learned since receiving this scholarship is that it is okay to ask for help. For the longest time I wanted to be able to support myself through my education, taking on more than I could actually handle. I learned that accepting help from others is not a sign of weakness, and applying for this scholarship has really helped me to focus on what is important in my life without additional stressors.

Do you have any advice for future applicants?

Applications can sometimes feel tedious and sometimes it feels like there isn’t enough time to sit down and fill them out, but I promise you that this scholarship is super worth it. This scholarship has been so helpful in helping me achieve both my academic and personal goals, this is not an opportunity you want to pass on!

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