“I’m a 3rd-year transfer student from Langara. I didn’t think I would get into UBC, just never imagined it, but somehow I got that letter and was in. And it was a different universe here. I hated it. The first year was absolute hell. For someone with social anxiety, this was the most disconnecting place. Lecture halls with 300 people… I just ended up not going to class at all. I started off full time. 5-class load.

You’re superhuman at the start of term, and then the second-week hits and somehow you’re humbled, and you’ve been brought to your knees. So yeah, now I’m at 2 courses, shamelessly; it’s all I can handle right now. But still really struggling. Getting to class is a struggle. To me, even just coming to campus is a big victory already. Even if I don’t go to the lecture, just coming here is a win. I’m just trying not to fail.”

“When did you know you wanted to be a therapist?”
“Through my own ups and downs; through realizing that everyone, even the person sitting across from you in a chair, is going through this thing called being human. I think there’s something really sacred about two people just having a moment. Everything else just fades away. To me, that’s what I live for, what I want to keep alive, and what everyone has the capacity to do and give. It’s about being vulnerable, and really listening. It’s not something we’re taught to do. We’re taught to absorb information and regurgitate it; it’s this cycle. There are some big systemic problems when you have a lot of clinicians coming at therapy through the DSM model. Very archaic; little to no empathy.… Having been suicidal, and having been through the hospital system and being let down by that, I wanted to try and build a room where no one has to go through that. The defining factor was Speakeasy, I joined that. We do drop-in based peer support between the hours of 11 and 7. We have our own little room where you do a one-on-one session with the peer support volunteer who’s trained and there to talk and listen—more so listen than talk…. It’s what keeps me going.”