At university, they say the first semester is the hardest. To say I was nervous was a bit of an understatement: on top of delving into my specialization degree in Immunology and Infection at the distinguished (and somewhat menacing) University of Alberta, I was attempting to score stellar grades worthy of competing for a future spot in medical school. I was well aware that volunteering and extracurriculars are an asset to applying for this program, and this fit perfectly with my love for Girl Guides.
Time management was definitely a tricky task. The jigsaw puzzle of my life required fitting together the complicated pieces of my studies, going to the gym, family life, social life, and of course, Guiding. Hoping to alleviate the need to squeeze in a part-time job on top of it all, I applied for Girl Guide scholarships. (This year’s national application deadline is April 3.) To my amazement, I received both a provincial and national Girl Guide scholarships. Such news inspired feelings of relief and gratitude that I could never fully express in words.
Consequently, I didn’t have to make sacrifices for other important pieces of my life, including that for Guiding. Volunteering with Brownies and Guides on a weekly basis offers a break – a welcome distraction. I deeply appreciate working with my experienced co-Guiders, who have marveled me with the world of programming, planning, and communicating. They have been patient and understanding of my limited hours during exam time, and they even encouraged me to be the Responsible Guider for our residential camp!
Of course, my top reason for volunteering with Girl Guides is the joy I get from working with the girls. The girls’ cheerfulness is contagious; a definite source, I believe, of mental health for me during that first semester. For all that the girls have given me, I hope I’m giving back to them in return as a young adult role model. I hope to embody what it means to stay with Girl Guides from girl member to Guider, as well as what it means to be a woman in science. As all my co-Guiders have pursued careers in sciences and engineering, we plan wicked STEM-themed meetings, inspiring the next generation of confident female scientists. And this is what makes everything worth it.
To Girl Guides of Canada, and to everyone who has helped me get to where I am, I wanted to thank you for your support— my life’s puzzle seems to fit together quite nicely.
Guest post by Kim Papp, a first-year student specializing in Immunology and Infection at the University of Alberta, who volunteers with Brownies and Guides in Edmonton.
Hurry! Girl Guides of Canada national scholarship applications close April 3 at 11:59 pm EST. There are scholarships for full- and part-time studies and a variety of fields.