Pushing Myself to Success

Read Sina's story of how he pushed himself to reach for his dream.

I was 17 when I was diagnosed with advanced germ cell tumour. After months of chemotherapy and two surgeries, I was able to recover and I am now in remission. I entered the University of Toronto in 2012 to obtain my Honours Bachelor of Science. Although I had a rough start in my first year, with lots of hard work I brought my grades up enough to be on the Dean's List every year of my undergraduate studies. This past spring I received my degree in Honours Bachelor of Science with High Distinction. In my third year I applied to volunteer at a number of cardiac research labs operating at the Toronto Medical Discovery Tower. I chose one that was  investigating different proteins involved in heart failure. Starting off as a volunteer, I knew that my roles wouldn't be the most significant tasks in the lab. However, I pushed my supervisor to give me more challenging roles and I began to design and conduct my own experiments. In the summer of third year, I received a research scholarship so I would be able to continue my research into the summer. 

The scholarship meant that I wouldn't need to work through the summer; I could continue to focus on my education without worrying about financial stresses. At the end of the summer my supervisor approached me and asked if I would be interested in staying during the school year and completing a "Project in Physiology." This meant I would be obtaining a school credit for doing research throughout the year. I agreed and obtained high impact results. Based on these results, I am now in the process of publishing an article as the first author in a prestigious science journal "Nature Cell Biology." This past summer, I received two more scholarships to be able to continue my research. I was also recently notified that I was the recipient of what is considered Canada's largest graduate student scholarship, the CIHR Canadian Graduate Student Scholarship. I am now starting my PhD in the same lab I started in as a volunteer. I will be working on a number of projects including investigating the biochemical  mechanisms of heart attacks. I will also be looking at a number of genes important in cardiac development to see what happens when there are mutations in these genes. I have worked hard to get where I am today. What started out as a volunteer position has given me summer employment, school credits and has launched my post-graduate career in pursuit of my PhD.

My success was not limited by the cards that I have been dealt. I have gotten to where I am today because I've pushed myself, and I've encouraged others to give me the chance to prove to them my abilities. Hard work, determination and dedication make a world of a difference. I will continue to push myself so that I can one day continue to achieve my dreams.


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