When I arrived at university for the first time, I was challenged with learning how to live on my own, away from my family. But I found a new family and community among the friends that I met. The Aboriginal Student Centre on campus played a particularly big role in this. It was there that I began to understand the unique challenges Aboriginal peoples face, especially when it comes to pursuing postsecondary education.

After completing my undergraduate degree, I went to medical school, and I am now doing my residency in cardiac surgery. I am the first female Inuit cardiac surgeon.

Balancing between these 2 worlds is difficult, but I have found opportunities to bring Indigenous knowledge into the classroom, and what has been so rewarding for me is that non-Aboriginal students and faculty have welcomed this knowledge. It makes me feel as though I have a place and I belong here.

I feel very fortunate that I’ve received a great deal of encouragement from my family in pursuing my goals. Their support and the support of my new family at school have allowed me to take chances and experience a huge amount of personal growth. I have met so many great people and learned so much. These are things I would have missed out on if I had chosen to stay at home and to take a more comfortable road.

You can create change. Whether it’s in your new community at university or taking that knowledge and bringing it back to your home community, you have the power to create the change you want to see.

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