Our PSYC students contantly amaze us, and part of supporting them is knowing not only about their academic life, but also more about who they are. We want to hear about the lived experience of our students while navigating their undergraduate psychology degree - not just their successes, but their challenges too. By showcasing students who are willing to share their stories on our Instagram account, we hope to reduce isolation among other students who may be in similar situations and foster encouragement. 

Want to share your story? Fill out the survey below and we'll be in touch. 

Daveena's Story 

October 13, 2022

Resilience has been a big part of my journey at SFU. In my first few years here, I was struggling academically and would never have thought that I would be where I am today. I began my academic journey on academic probation and was struggling to balance a fulltime course load with a full-time job, never mind having a social life! As I began prioritizing my education, learning strategies to improve my own mental health, and focusing on myself, my grades also improved. I was able to show resilience despite facing a few traumatic events in my first few years of post-secondary that severely impacted my mental health and ability to focus on school. Now, I have graduated with my Bachelor of Arts degree with a joint major in criminology and psychology and I am currently working on a post-baccalaureate diploma in counselling and human development, and eventually plan on completing a Masters in Counselling. This is my definition of resilience.
One of the most rewarding parts of my student experience has been getting involved with the university. Whether It’s through volunteering, joining clubs, or reaching out to academic advisors and faculty, getting involved can make a huge difference in your university experience, and it did for me. Improving my GPA was also rewarding because it opened up doors for me that I never imagined myself considering in the past, such as attending graduate school.
The number one piece of advice I can give to other students is to reach out for help. I wish I had reached out in first or second year when I was struggling with my own mental health. Making the decision to reach out to SFU’s counselling services was one of the best decisions I have made in the past two years, and I think it’s a tough decision to make. These resources are available to SFU students free of charge and can make a significant impact on our lives.

- Daveena Sangha (@sangha.97), SFU Psychology Alumni

See Daveena's post here.

Moyra's Story 

July 25, 2022

"At the young age of 19, I became a mom to my first daughter. I did not have a support network, and so soon after having my second daughter I wanted to make a positive change for me and my children. Against all odds, I moved to Coquitlam in 2015, not knowing anyone or anything, to pursue my education in psychology. Aside from building my life from scratch, I married my now husband and became a new mom for the third time in 2019 - right in the middle of my BA. Being pregnant, having a baby, and experiencing the ‘new mom’ phase again while in full time classes was the biggest barrier I faced during my student journey -- especially during a global pandemic. The all-nighters to complete papers and exams on time has brought me near my breaking point many times over the last two years. I struggled to maintain an appropriate GPA and care for my three young daughters at the same time.

Despite the many struggles I have endured since being an SFU student, I do not regret anything. Most importantly, I feel proud that I have been able to succeed in everything I set out to accomplish thus far. My advice for all students -- especially those with children or those wanting a better life for themselves -- is to not give up. Stay strong, persevere, and always do your best. Life has obstacles. There will always be challenging moments to overcome. But it is so incredibly important to remind yourself why you're on the journey you're on. I often come back to the quote 'Shoot for the moon. For even if you fall, you will land among the stars.'

I am a first-generation university student, and I could not be any prouder to be a mother while doing it. I look forward to the day when all three of my kids will be there with me as I graduate from Simon Fraser University. I did this for me, but more importantly I did this for them. "

- Moyra Walton (@mrsmoyra_clare142), 4th year Psychology & Criminology student

See Moyra's post here.

Shirin's Story 

May 17, 2022

"During the second semester of my first year, my mom was diagnosed with cancer for the second time in her life. She was one of my main supporters, and when she passed away 13 months later, the initial grief made me feel incredibly desolate. I was hoping she would see me at my future convocation. I remember at the time, and even now, getting so frustrated when I could not control my emotions or my mind (as someone who is essentially studying the ins-and-outs of it in my degree). Three years later, there are still tough days where the thought of even opening my eyes to get out of bed, let alone pick up my laptop and do my school work, just seems like an impossible task. But with the support of my friends, my family, and the open-hearted people within the SFU community (both in student services and within the faculties), I have been able to maintain resiliency and overcome the challenges of starting a future career. I feel incredibly humbled to have made the friendships and professional relationships I have so far.

To me, resilience means knowing when it is healthy (and unhealthy) to push your limits, in order to bounce back from an impasse in your life. When going through major life events, you may never go back to your “normal self” before the incident. But by learning your limits and finding that resiliency, you will eventually come out of the situation with newfound strengths.

My advice to students facing challenges is that you're stronger than you think you are, even at your lowest moment. There is no shame in reaching out for help, even if you think people won’t know what to say. Trust and vulnerability can do wonders for your relationships. And when it comes to trying to seek professional help, it can be disheartening to be turned away from therapy services, either due to long waitlists or high fees. But there's something - someone - out there who can and will help you. Don’t give up."

-Shirin Pedram (@saphroff), 4th year Behavioral Neuroscience Student

See Shirin's post here.