Sarah Khan is Kitimat’s example of how hard work and organization can pay off in very direct ways.
The graduate of Mount Elizabeth Secondary School is well into her first year at the University of Victoria, taking first year sciences on her way to a biochemistry degree, which in turn she hopes will be her ticket into medical school.
She graduated grade 12 with a 97.25 per cent average, and that’s even with filling her spare time with volleyball, dance classes and other extra-curricular activities.
In short, she’s done a lot and has amazingly come out of the haze of a graduating year of high school with her sanity, and a run at a high level university.
Her work also means a $60,000 scholarship towards her tuition and living costs.
Khan is one out of 40 winners of the Schulich Leader Scholarship, a relatively new scholarship prize that will effectively carry her through her undergraduate studies. It’s a prestigious award, given that there are 996 nominees from high schools across Canada.
There is just one nomination per high school.
Recipients must pursue undergraduate studies in either science, technology, engineering or mathematics, and must maintain a certain grade point average to continue receiving the scholarship for their four-year programs.
So how did Khan manage to achieve her success while doing so much?
“There’s definitely some days where I was a bit sleep deprived, but it definitely wasn’t bad. I just have this natural work ethic, I almost need to do it just for myself, that’s just my personality. I like getting things done, I like staying busy,” she said.
She adds that “it’s all about time management.”
“I spend time time-managing so that I know how much time to allot each thing,” she said.
She admits that university studies are harder than high school, but high school definitely helped prepare her way to post-secondary.
“I found that a lot of the things I learned in high school have helped me in my first year of courses because a lot of them are just continuations and a lot of it is repetition from grade 12,” she said.
She’s already filling her time in Victoria, between daily runs, a dance class and volunteering for the Equity and Human Rights Club.
With such a huge pool of candidates for the scholarship — it’s Canada-wide, not just B.C.-wide — Khan said her being picked should be encouraging to anyone else in Kitimat who wants to give it a go.
“They picked someone from Kitimat. It really shows you can do it,” she said.