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Q:A: Get To Know Our Youth - Avolyn

Student: Avolyn Program: BA Criminology and Psych - University of Windsor

Describe what your personal and academic journey was like prior to being involved in the Margins to Mainstream Bursary program.

Before my involvement with the Margins to Mainstream Bursary program, there where countless days of stress and worry. There were days when I was unsure whether I would be able to apply for the upcoming academic term due to overdue balances. There were also days where I had to prioritize.  I would sit down and assess which textbooks I could afford to buy and which courses could be completed by attending classes and reviewing slides. I use to cry and have panic attacks because I wanted to do well in school, I knew I could excel in my studies I just needed the resources, and before the Margins to Mainstream Program, I did not have those resources.

Reflect on your academic journey. Describe any challenges you may have had and how you overcame them. 

As I have previously mentioned in the above section, I had challenges with anxiety. I would get anxious when studying because I would worry if I had all the content needed for my tests. Again, I did not have the textbooks for most of my courses. Although my Professor's slideshows were based on the material in the textbook, I notice they always left vital points out; the speaker's notes were vague. To overcome/ manage my anxiety, I took advantage of my school resources, utilized the free therapy sessions, and the course reserved books in my university library.

How has the Mainstream Bursary Program positively impacted you, both academically and personally? What would you want to public to know in regards to the impact this program has on you academically, mentally, emotionally, personally:

Where do I start! The Mainstream Bursary Program positively impacted me in an immense amount of ways. Firstly, it has and continues to provide me with financial support. Through this incredible program, I now have the resources to thrive academically. Covering one's tuition is one thing, but this program has gone above and beyond to make sure I have all my course textbooks, a tutor if needed, and a working laptop, all of which helped in my academic success over the past two years. Since having the opportunity to be in the program, I have seen an increase in my marks. It does not stop there; I have grown as a person since being in this program. I am so fortune to have access to some great mentors, including a financial advisor. My mentors have taught me to be patient and kind to myself, as well as be vulnerable. That may sound simple, but that it is so valuable. We are our most prominent critics, and we tend to critique ourselves into self-doubt. I have now learned that it is ok to fall because it is a part of growing, and being vulnerable is not equivalent to being weak. Mentally I am stronger; before this program, I would beat myself up if I did not do as well as I wanted to on a test. Now I have people who pick me up and encourage me to keep going if I do not do as well so, instead of being upset, I now get motivated to do better. This program has made my dreams feel more obtainable. I have come across many people talking about the potential I have, and for the first time, I have a group of people who have acted on the potential. Finally, I have a group of amazing individuals pushing me to do better. For that, I am forever grateful. Thank you for this opportunity. 

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