At 6 years old, I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, and by the time I reached high school, I realized that this diagnosis would prevent me from being a police officer – a career that I had dreamed about from a young age. I was also diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, which created additional obstacles for me – I had to learn techniques to help myself focus, which often proved challenging in a school setting.

As a result, I changed course and set about finding a new passion. In high school, I had a strong interest in law and psychology, so I decided to pursue these interests during my university studies. Members of my family have a history of mood disorders and psychological conditions. My education has made it easier for me to understand and reach out to them – it has helped me learn how to be there for the ones that I love.

I am proud to say that in June 2015, I graduated with a degree in Forensic Psychology with a minor in Legal Studies. I am now employed as an Aboriginal Youth Addictions and Mental Health Worker with the Oshawa Community Health Centre and I hope to one day return to school to pursue a master’s degree in Applied Clinical Psychology.

I’ve learned that with persistence and hard work, no challenge is too big to overcome. With each challenge I face, I learn a little bit more about who I am and what I’m capable of.

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