High school graduates prepare for university during a pandemic
VANCOUVER -- As the school year comes to an end, for many students that means a move into post-secondary life and all the new experiences that come with it.
But in a year of a global pandemic, starting university won’t be the same.
Govind Deol is about to graduate from LA Matheson Secondary School and has a dream to become a doctor. He’s already on the right track. Deol is a Loran Scholar, one of only 36 students across the country to be given the honour. The Loran Scholars Foundation says it offers “the country’s largest and most comprehensive four-year undergraduate award (valued at $100,000) to young Canadians on the basis of character, service and the promise of leadership.”
"It’s kind of a program, a family, a community that’s going to be helping me throughout the next four years and onwards," Deol said.
But the scholarship is not just for his studies. Deol is active is many aspects of the Surrey community. He has started a basketball program and summer soccer camp for elementary students.
"And then I started to get involved with more things in the community, so I’m a volunteer at Surrey Crime Prevention, I volunteer at Kinsman Lodge with seniors who feel isolated and I also work at an organization called SAF and what they do is they educate children in India," he said.
When it came time to choose a university, it came down to his future plan to study medicine at UBC. But the scholarship requirements meant he had to pick a campus away from home. He’s already been accepted into McGill University, but he settled on UBC Okanagan.
"It’s a great school where there’s a smaller community, so learning about that community, and still I get all these opportunities of going to such a high-ranking school," he said.
A global pandemic has dramatically changed the way his first semester was meant to go. Classes will be online and he won’t be moving on campus, and might not be leaving home at all.
"Another thing I considered was deferring the first semester," Deol said. “I think it's just best to stay home and study. Obviously it’s not what I wanted, it’s not what I had planned."
It’s a situation facing most graduates. Ella White is going to Emily Carr next year after winning a scholarship from the Michael J. Fox Theatre Society. She’s excited to start the next phase of her studies, but her classes will also be online.
"It’s going to be weird. It’s going to be hard to make friends especially, but you know everyone’s going through the same thing,” White said.
Many students CTV spoke to say the new faces is what they will miss most. Max Faber is graduating from Carson Graham in North Vancouver and is studying arts at UBC. He was planning to live on campus but will now be studying from home.
"I’m definitely going to be missing out on meeting new people,” Faber said, adding there are now online meeting places to incoming students. “You can meet new people and you can post a personal profile of who you are and what you’re studying so that’s a good way to meet people but it really isn’t the same as meeting in person.”
Even though the next stage of life won’t be how they’d imagined it, students say they’re coming to terms with the fact that the new experiences will happen, just later.
Check out more of CTV News Vancouver's Class of 2020 series online, and all week on CTV Morning Live and CTV News at Six.