l-r: Anasuya Kesavan with her daughter, Sreedevi.

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Return to school yields new opportunities

June 10, 2019
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By Tessa Perkins Deneault

When Anasuya Kesavan moved to Canada in 2015, it was to support her older daughter, Sreedevi, who had accepted a scholarship to study molecular biology and biochemistry at SFU. Kesavan never imagined she’d soon be joining her daughter at SFU, as a communication student.

Originally from India, Kesavan completed a master’s degree in sociology the year Sreedevi was born and has many years of work experience in publicity and journalism in India, Bahrain and Dubai. But after arriving in Canada she struggled to find a job that allowed her to use her communication skills. She ended up working at a pharmacy to pay the bills.

“I figured employers wanted a Canadian communications degree,” says Kesavan, so she enrolled at SFU with plans to complete a Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in communication. She enjoyed her courses so much, however, that she decided to complete an undergraduate degree.

As a mother of two and a new immigrant, there were times when the workload was intense.  She remembers the spring 2018 term when she was working 30 hours per week while taking four courses, yet still managed to get onto the Dean’s Honour Roll.

“It was a really thrilling experience,” she says. “If I had a choice, I would go back to class. There is still more research to do, more ideas I want to explore.”

But all the hard work paid off and Kesavan found a job as a communication coordinator at Douglas College doing work that she didn’t have previous experience with, such as video production and social media.

“A few months ago, I would have been scared to think of doing those things, but SFU gave me the confidence I needed to succeed.”

Looking down at her new Douglas College business card gives Kesavan great satisfaction.

“I can’t tell you the feeling of seeing this business card. This is just the beginning.”

Sreedevi will cross the convocation stage in October. For now, she’ll be cheering her mom on from her seat in the audience.

And although this isn’t Kesavan’s first degree, it will be her first convocation ceremony.

“It’s my dream — I want to wear that cap and gown.”