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Recipient of the Dr. June Marion James Black Legends Bursary: COURTNEY



Name

Courtney


Institution

McMaster University


Field of Study/ Major

Honours Life Science


Please share what the Bursary program has meant for you so far in your post-secondary journey (mentorship, financial aid, career assistance)


Just thinking about the M2M bursary program brings tears of love and appreciation. It has been a space where I can just be myself and be surrounded by people who just understand. I feel so fortunate to be given the opportunity over the years to have access to a team of ambitious individuals who are truly there for you. My post-secondary journey and life's journey would be nothing without the program. The magnitude of guidance received from being in the program is beyond my wildest dreams.


My journey started as an international student just finishing my first year, with the burden of expenses piled high. There were times when I felt like quitting and it was the first time I've dealt with depression and anxiety. Everything just felt impossible but God had a plan. The program and the amazing team of mentors behind it who I consider family came at the right time. My entire life changed. I needed them and I needed the conversations. It has propelled my life forward in beautiful ways and for that, I am eternally grateful.


Piece by piece the burdens were lifted and going through school and life became a lot easier. They challenged my thinking, challenged my potential and I began to live my purpose. I received my first internship through the program which has led to the job I currently hold. My goals became clearer and the drive to push towards them has been re-ignited. In the beginning, it was hazy but over the years the fog has been cleared because of the guidance. Thanks guys!


⁠Any comments you would like to share about being matched with the Black Legend that your September 2023 Bursary was named after.


I was matched with the bursary named after Dr. June Marion James. Firstly, I am beyond grateful for the bursary but for it to be tied to such a trailblazer is extraordinary. I was born in Jamaica with plans of becoming a medical professional and to see someone from a similar background like myself is astonishing. It makes it all seem possible and puts a lot into perspective. My heart is smiling and I am so ecstatic to be somewhat in the presence of such an icon for my culture and throughout the medical field.


2023 Academic/Personal Highlight


There is so much beauty in living and 2023 has truly proven to be an eye-opener. I have always loved unlocking and living to my fullest potential but that year was truly special. That year I found true happiness and acceptance. Happiness in the way that I appreciate the birds singing, and the sun shining after many days of gray skies. I have accepted my reality and truly embraced living in the moment. Yes, I have plans and whilst I'm so close to finishing my degree, my life has found more meaning. It has been a rollercoaster since my first year and every day I would wake up every day with a burden from school especially financially, family and just the trials of life. But 2023 has really taught me to accept it all. It was a journey I needed and I am stronger because of it.


The M2M program and mentorship have been there through it all. It has been my safe space to express myself openly while providing valuable lessons that have propelled my life in ways that I would never have imagined. My younger self would be proud. That is a major highlight and I am forever grateful.


There have been so many highlights but finding my purpose and living within has been truly magical. I have focused some time on starting my plant business with hopes of launching a website soon. Advocating mental health and being a voice within the community. It has really been beautiful to witness.


Please help us support youth like Courtney. Donate today at pinballfoundation.ca/donateonline.

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