Finding my Shade of Purple

Neuroscience major and Biochemistry minor graduate Katy Celina Sandoval ’18 reached out to Bishop’s to share her experiences as a Bishop’s University student. She tells us of her journey through fun and difficult times. We hope her story will inspire you to attend our school!

I first heard of Bishop’s University when I was a student at Dawson College in Montreal. The recruiters caught my attention, and as I looked through the booklet, I knew this is where I wanted to go for my undergraduate studies. Still, I looked at the other universities at the fair. I visited university websites multiple times, but I always found my way back to the Bishop’s webpage. I was attracted to the Psychology: Neuroscience (B.Sc.) and the Pre-Medicine Double Major (B.Sc.). I came to visit shortly after I submitted my application. I still remember the feeling I had when I walked in the Student Union Building for the first time.

August 2015
I am moving to Lennoxville, feeling both excited and scared. After I had mental health related challenges a few years earlier, I could not believe I made it to university. I felt so proud of myself for not giving up. I knew this would be an experience that would change my life; I just never expected it to be this much! I got through my first semester, little bumps here and there, trying to see where I fit in. I tried to adapt a little to other people, but it did not feel right. I went through the second semester and felt so happy to have accomplished my first year of university life. I decided to take spring classes, and honestly, it was the best decision! I met so many wonderful people I would not have met if I had not stepped out of my comfort zone and taken an art class in the spring. These people later became part of my daily life and I will greatly miss them.

September 2016
I was coming back to Lennoxville, and this time, excited to reconnect with the friends I had made before leaving for the summer. I promised myself I would be open to meeting new people and believed I would find my way to the right people who shared my values. See, the thing is I am not really into partying every weekend. I have always been focused on my schoolwork and my goals, and with a tight budget, partying all the time was not possible if I wanted to reach my goals. Thankfully, I became friends with other BU students who shared that same mentality and lifestyle. I got involved a little more on campus.  I became VP of the Bishop’s University Undergraduate Psychology Society for one semester, but decided not to continue, as it was not a good match for me. I also decided to become a part of the ePortfolio Mentorship Pilot Program. I believed in this program, so I became a student ambassador of the project and took every chance I had to share my experience with others. My second year was extremely challenging, as I had to deal with some conflicts. I was working hard to improve my average because I decided I wanted to apply for a Master’s degree the next year.

Katy in the SUB, promoting the E-Portfolio!

Fall 2016
I had a moment of “This is what I am meant to do!” when I was taking the courses Neuropsychology and Brain & Behaviour 2. I just knew neuroscience is what I love!  I had a new goal: improve my GPA to get into a Master’s program. Unfortunately, not everyone in my life at that time understood what this meant and the sacrifices I needed to make, which created some friction. After successfully completing my second year of university, I decided to take spring classes once again. I met more wonderful people and had the opportunity to connect with them in different ways.

Summer 2017
I started an internship in a research lab at the CHUS-Fleurimont. I knew I wanted to pursue graduate school, but I had to make sure research was really what I wanted to do. I did some digging online and found this amazing opportunity that taught me so much! After the summer, I was 100% sure I wanted to do research in neuroscience. I continued volunteering at the lab during the fall semester of my third and last year of undergraduate studies. I kept learning and I connected with incredible women scientists who shared their knowledge and passion with me. I know this experience would not have been possible elsewhere, and I will forever say that being at BU can open doors you never thought existed! You just have to be willing to knock on them and continue knocking until one opens.

Fall 2017
I joined the Bishop’s University Alumni Association as a student caller. Again, sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone to meet the right people and live the right experiences. I really did not think I would like to work on the phone because of past experiences at call centers, but I was wrong! I had the chance to meet amazing BU students from different backgrounds and different programs. I also had the opportunity to talk to graduates who were so kind to talk on the phone with me and share their wisdom. It was so motivating! I remember I would get back home after every shift and feel like I could do anything because of all the positivity that came from working there. I strongly recommend you apply and give it a try. It is not for everyone, I know, but you could be surprised!

An amazing adventure
Not only did I meet BU-tiful students in my three years here, but I also met incredible and passionate professors! I have never felt so well surrounded and supported as I do here. They have become an important part of my life at Bishop’s. It is just a blessing to see so many caring teachers! Having that support made it possible for my best friend Erika and I to create the BU Snooze Room Project.

Katy (center) with the BU Snooze Room crew!

I could write pages and pages of my experiences at BU, the good and the bad, but overall it has been one of the best decisions I made in my life. I do not regret it. It took me some time to find where I belonged, but I found projects that I was passionate about, and if they did not exist, I found the right people and created it! There are so many great opportunities at BU that you will never know about it if you do not ask or try to connect with other students, professors, and staff.

Katy (second from the right) and her BU-tiful friends!

There’s not one way of doing things or reaching a goal. Trust me, my path is not like others’, but I still finished with similar experiences and knowledge. Today, not only am I proud to say that I am a #UbishopsAlumni, I’m also completing my first year as a master student studying Behavioural Neuroscience at University of Calgary.

Living the #GradLife in Calgary

Trust your instinct. Believe in yourself. Ask for help. Don’t change to belong. Be patient to find the right people and for the right people to find you. Be mindful. Be focused. Be kind. Most of all, be respectful towards yourself and others and be honest about who you are and the work you do. In the end, you decide what your experience will be and what you want to gain from it. Bishop’s University will help you find your purple shade, if you accept to do the work.

Want more reasons to come to Bishop’s University? Read what past and current students have to say!

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