New GES alumnus and mother of three shares experience returning to school

October 03, 2023

New alumnus Sara Ross has always wanted to do her part to ensure future generations get to experience and enjoy nature as much as she does, which is why she decided to return to school and do an undergraduate degree in global environmental systems.

A mother of three children, she enrolled in school as a mature student at Douglas College when her youngest turned one before transferring to SFU in 2021. Juggling fulltime studies and raising a family presented challenges over the years, she says, but it also motivated her to persevere through obstacles she encountered.

“Not only did I want to have success for myself, I also wanted to show my children a strong work ethic.”

She says if she could go back and give herself any advice, it would be to reach out and ask questions when there was something she didn’t understand.

She would also provide herself with reassurance: “I would tell myself that I do belong and deserve to be here, and that everyone around me is also scared and nervous,” she says.

Sara shares that a highlight from her degree was learning from faculty who were so passionate about their subjects that she could not help but feel curious and passionate herself. Her most memorable experience was a field trip in GEOG 412, Glacial Processes and Environments, when she went to the interior of B.C. for three days to explore glacial land forms and learn different theories about how the glaciers melted.

Instructor Jonathan Cripps “did a great job making it a fun, educational experience,” she recalls.

She also credits her time as an undergraduate student for teaching her how to think more critically, collaborate with peers, and her ability to work through her fear of public speaking.

While Sara graduates with her degree this October, her time at SFU isn’t over just yet. She is currently enrolled in a teacher education program with plans to teach after its completion in December 2024.