A Scholarship and a Dream

Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation 2017 Scholarship Award Winner

By Clare McDonald


Some high school graduates know they want to pursue higher education but are not sure which direction to go. Other graduates are more fortunate – they know, and probably have known for years, exactly what career or line of work they want and how to go about achieving their dream. University was always my goal and I thought perhaps I would follow in my mum’s footsteps and become a teacher, however, I knew that was not my passion. I wasn’t sure what was, and wanted so badly to discover what it could be.

Benefits of co-op in high school

My path became clear when I had the privilege of working at a local hospital as a student in a Co-Operative Education program or, co-op. This was where I had the rare opportunity to learn about and experience various departments and fields at the hospital. After spending a few a days in the emergency department with a registered nurse, and time in the women and children’s unit, I was quite certain I had found my passion. Until last year, I had not even considered a career in nursing.

The nurses not only worked to ensure the health and well-being of patients, but provided reassurance and comfort, and treated patients with great kindness and dignity. This is what I aspire to do someday.

Applying to university

We were aware of the high cost of tuition but my parents were as determined as I was for me to go to university. I was a diligent student from elementary to high school and I was determined to maintain my grades and extra-curricular activities in order to be considered for as many scholarships and prizes at graduation. Pursuing nursing was my dream and I was going to do everything I could to reach my goal.

Applying for scholarships...and winning!

I found out about the CST Scholarship Awards after searching various websites and decided to apply once I realized I fit the criteria. I was determined to find and apply for as many scholarships as I qualified for.

I was absolutely thrilled to receive a phone call on the warm summer evening of August fourth. Never in a million years had I thought I would be selected for CST’s Karthiha Guruparan Scholarship, as it is a competitive national scholarship with so many other applicants, which is why I was so shocked to receive the news I was chosen as a recipient.

Along with the thrill of the award, I was also ecstatic to have been offered the opportunity to go to Toronto for the awards reception, but was unfortunately unable to attend due to a heavy course load, which included evening labs.

Winning this scholarship was especially meaningful as it has been an extremely difficult year for my family, with loved ones facing serious health concerns. Learning that I had been awarded such a sizeable scholarship took a big weight off our shoulders. It meant that I would be able to pursue my dreams.

I am so grateful to have been selected for a scholarship honouring a woman with so many admirable qualities that I someday hope to emulate.

Starting university

I am now in my first year of the Nursing Program at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. I’m proud to be a part of the St. F.X. campus!

Many students have an enormous debt at graduation  and winning the Karthiha Guruparan scholarship has certainly helped to lift some of the financial burden, for which my family and I are very grateful.

Student life

Being away from home is not easy. I am quite a homebody and love my little harbour town of Pictou NS. Luckily St.F.X. is only forty-five minutes from my home. It is a relatively small university of approximately 5000 students, with smaller class sizes than other schools across the country. However, most of my classes have considerably more students than the average of fifteen that I was accustomed to at my high school!

Despite the change, I am transitioning into life here quite well now, and have so many amazing friends with similar aspirations to mine. I have already made connections with people from across the globe, which is just one of many new things I have experienced in my first month here at St. F. X.

Going after my dreams

I am happy to be here at university pursuing my dream of becoming a nurse. After my nursing degree, I wish to remain in rural Nova Scotia for at least the first few years of my career. After my first few years nursing, I hope to travel, which is another amazing opportunity this provides. In fact, it is a dream of mine to help those in less developed countries, where adequate medical care is not provided. I feel as though nursing overseas would not only help me develop my career, but also increase my sense of compassion, self-worth and nursing skills.

After spending time in lesser developed countries, the next part of my dream is to eventually return to Nova Scotia and settle down to raise a family. No matter how far I travel, I believe I will ultimately return home.