Raised in Pakistan, Jan lost her mother to cancer when she was just nine years old. Two years later, she survived an awful earthquake that devastated parts of Pakistan and collapsed the apartment building her family was living in. Shortly after the quake, she moved to Canada to live with her aunt, but continued to be haunted by the stress of the past. In her new home in Vancouver, Jan continued to struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder.
After all the disruption in her life, Jan decided Roberts Education Centre would provide the flexibility she was looking for. She started at Roberts and at first, high marks were a challenge. Slowly, but surely, she persevered.
She worked closely with her academic advisor and got active in the community volunteering at the Canadian Mental Health Association and working at the Downtown Women's shelter. In her free time, she indulged her passion in sports, playing floor hockey and badminton; sports she didn't have the opportunity to play in Pakistan. The hard work and community service paid off.
On April 29th this year, Jan learned she'd won a $40,000 entrance scholarship to UBC.
"Last year, if someone told me that I would get this award, I would have laughed at them. But this year, I was amazed at my high grades. My teachers and the staff at Roberts gave me the confidence to succeed," said Jan.
Roberts staff say her winning the award demonstrates how high caliber of a student she is, noting that the entrance scholarship is one of UBC's biggest and most prestigious awards.
"It's a really big deal - trust me!" says Malini Rajkumar, who runs the Career Centre at Roberts.
Rajkumar says Jan's career trajectory is clear. She intends to complete a BA in arts and then go into international relations and play a role in diplomacy. She says Jan hopes to one day go back to Pakistan as a diplomat.
The Principal, Leo Hutchinson, and staff at Roberts say Jan's success highlights the school's developing relationships with universities and the high caliber and diversity of many of its students. The Education Centre has students aged 16-60 and a mixed bag of new immigrants, people changing careers as well as many young students updating courses.
Jan says she owes a many thanks to the teachers, advisers and administration at the Centre.
"I think other students should realize that they are lucky to go to Roberts, because when I gave up on myself, my Academic Advisor, didn't," she says. "It's like a family."