By Gunit Kaur and Diana Bratu

Pronouns: She/her/hers

Year: 3rd-year transfer student

Major: Psychology

Coming all the way from Northern BC, City Fort St. John. I spent my childhood on a ranch, after finishing my highschool I went to Alberta and attended a college in Red Deer. I just spent one semester and then decided to move to Vancouver and go to Douglas College for a psychiatric Program. Then I further decided to get into UBC. I got that and currently, I am a transfer student in my 3rd year doing Psychology in The Faculty of Arts.

The whole transition period from a college to a university was without a doubt, difficult. When I came to UBC, it was a whole different sense of exposure for me. Back in College, the setup was so different, the environment was comparatively less academic than here. Shifting to UBC drove me to challenge everything and push myself through my prior self-barriers and outgrow them. The UBC Psychology Department is huge, thus making it more difficult to stand out and reach out to the professors. 

Being online during this whole pandemic times made it even more difficult to build up contacts with my peers as well. Another hard thing about classes being online was the part of constantly being at home. Now that everything is in-person the “to-be-outside-of-the-home” part feels good along with the opportunity to be able to talk to professors; however, the regular time spent on transit to and fro is highly stressful. 

When I entered college I took admission into Social Works. Getting a chance to live in Alberta and getting to know about its culture also fascinated me. Being into a psychiatric nursing program was all about different biology courses and me coming from a large background of arts and literature felt the rush of having more flexibility within my courses.

With this desire for exploration, I reached UBC. Here, the environment is more challenging and diverse as per what I wanted. Programs over here gave me the chance to get out of the bubble and take classes from different spheres of knowledge- Arts, Sciences, Psychology. Another important aspect of UBC that made me drive towards itself was the ability to get involved outside the academic area and get engaged with the extra co-curricular activities. 

The best part of being in UBC is the diversity it shares with its community. People come from different regions, cultures and have their unique stories. It is really nice to hear all the different stories and get knowledge about the world. 

My childhood was very simple, my father worked at the Ranch business and my mother was a part-time teacher at one of the schools in rural BC. The place where I belong had a very conservative approach towards life and a very normative culture.  I was an Arts nerd and usually spent my time sitting in a room reading or drawing. I did not find that place best suitable for me. I completed high school and started to work at a bank in Alberta. The job was a 9-5 one and I could have made a career out of it but I did not as  I felt I was not really reaching my fullest potential. So I decided to go back to studying, hence, I took admission at the red deer college. 

I even did not think about ever getting into UBC and hear I am. 


What career path will you choose?

Geriatric Care. I worry that the elderly are the loneliest people. I’ve been around them quite a lot as I’ve had family in senior homes.


Any specific challenges as a first-gen?

Not having a model parent that went to secondary schooling, and I didn’t have guidance on building my own path. I switched around a lot and it was hard to navigate the academic world and I didn’t have anyone to give me advice. It was hard to figure out what I wanted to be and do. 

Advice to UBC students:

If you’re new and starting out, take as many electives as you can. Go towards your interests. Use your life experiences to guide you and do what you want to pursue. Take your time and follow your interests. 

What’s the biggest lesson you learned? 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help from the university. If you don’t have anyone close, to give you advice. The advisors and professors can help a lot. 


What’s one thing that has kept you motivated?

My love for academics. My appreciation for where I am. Having the opportunity to attend post-secondary. I also look up to my friends. 


Tips on how to stay organized and manage your time:

Because I have to transit, I make a list of what I need to do. Meal prepping has helped me a lot.  Do not procrastinate.