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convocation, Geography, students

Geography grad’s perseverance leads to a new-found passion for knowledge

October 19, 2021
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By Adrienne Arbor

When I transferred to SFU four years ago, I was actually returning after a very long hiatus. 

At 20, I walked away from university and never thought that I would be wandering the AQ as a student again. Life happened, years passed – and I think the universe was having a laugh at my expense when I was admitted to SFU for a second time.

Feeling old and out of place, with an abysmal GPA from my previous attendance and the desire to get it over with as quickly as possible, I slowly found myself enjoying my classes. Faces started looking familiar, often due to long hours working in the SIS lab together. I went on field trips, learning to interpret the stories told by rivers and rocks.

I brought my son with me to classes sometimes, and to camps in the summer semester. His collection of SFU t-shirts grew over the years, and he got to know the campus better than I did.

I started doing work-study, which led to a summer working in the soil lab. I was able to do some fieldwork, digging soil pits and learning the stories the soils told, of glaciation and forests. I wore N95 masks while I sifted samples, not knowing how precious they would be in the future.

Suddenly, I only needed two more classes to graduate – which I managed to stretch into two semesters, because there were still more classes I wanted to take. And I still don’t feel done with school yet, which is why I’m looking forward to starting a master’s degree in the fall. I’m so grateful for the opportunities I was given, the encouragement from instructors, and the friendship of other students.

I’m still looking forward to hearing the bagpipes and walking across the stage for my diploma, even if it is a year from now – going to SFU has changed my life and I want to celebrate with my ever-patient and family and friends.

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