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SFU grad finds a fit for her interests in geography after exploring multiple academic paths
Meg Balog is graduating from SFU with a BEnv in Global Environmental Systems, an extended minor in sociology and a certificate in social justice.
Meg originally had her eyes set on a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Neuroscience and entered SFU as a psychology major, hoping to find a home for her appreciation of art and science. “I really had no idea what geography or sociology even were at the time,” says Meg.
Meg traded her psychology major for sociology after taking a couple of electives, thinking she had found a better fit. However, a conversation with a friend in the geography department made Meg realize that geography may be a perfect host for her interests in ecological and social systems, landing herself a new major.
“I liked that Geography brought ecology, spatial studies, and social science together. I wanted to learn about these as tools to improve human-built and natural spaces, and promote social and environmental justice,” says Meg.
Finding the right academic fit for Meg took a bit of time, but none was wasted. She was an active member of the SFUs Choir, the co-op program, SFU’s Residence Life, and sat on the Developmental Advisory Council (DevAC) for SFU’s 2020-2025 Sustainability Plan.
“The DevAC was an amazing opportunity in my final semester of undergrad. I learned an incredible amount about what it means to do decolonization and accessibility work in a specific and measurable way,” says Meg. “The experiences I had on this council deepened my understanding of how to be an effective ally as a settler on unceded Coast Salish territories. My time on the council also significantly increased my confidence in speaking up for accessibility as a neurodivergent/disabled person.”
Spending a total of seven years at SFU allowed Meg to explore multiple academic avenues, undertake eight jobs, hold six volunteer positions, and use on-line learning over the past year to her advantage as she balanced full-time employment throughout the summer with courses.
“As a neurodivergent student, accessible online learning was a total gamechanger… I doubt I would have been able to finish my degree over the past year without it. Not just in the sense that we couldn’t be in person, but in the sense that online learning mitigated many of the accessibility challenges I usually experienced with in-person classes,” says Meg.
A lot has changed for Meg since she first entered SFU.
“My understanding of the world and my place in it has changed drastically… I feel much better equipped to authentically show up for other people and support them effectively, both as an ally and as a friend,” says Meg.