convocation, Resource and Environmental Management, students

REM graduate shares positive insights about graduating in the midst of a global pandemic

May 12, 2021
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After an engaging three years filled with lectures and labs, experiential learning opportunities and volunteer work, Stirling Hillman is one of the many students whose time on Burnaby Mountain was unexpectedly cut short. 

Sterling graduates this spring joining the Faculty of Environment’s cohort of Resource and Environmental Management (REM) alumni as a multi-time recipient of the Dean’s Honour Roll, President’s Honour Roll and SFU’s Open Scholarship. While earning his degree, Sterling advocated for his peers while serving on SFU’s Senate, completed a successful co-op term with the City of Vancouver and worked as an undergraduate research assistant. 

When SFU moved to online instruction Sterling felt he’d missed the opportunity to say goodbye, but he remains positive and grateful for his SFU experience. 

“I had my last class on Burnaby Mountain without even realizing it,” says Sterling. “At times, I felt robbed of saying goodbye to SFU. COVID-19 has shown that we are not in control of external events and its impacts. However, we are in control of our attitude. Maintaining a positive mental attitude can allow for finding solutions and peace of mind.” 

While the future remains unknown, Hillman offers comforting words of encouragement to his fellow graduating class of 2020.

“From this experience we have gained the spirit to persevere and prevail in challenging times,” he says. “Having lived through this difficult event, I am confident in my peers that we will continue to make the world a better place.”

Looking forward, Sterling will be attending the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Law this fall.

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