2019 Road Warrior Series: Sheila Mirafzal
Name: Sheila Mirafzal
Program: Bachelor of Applied Science in Family Studies and Human Development, Minors in Psychology & Family and Child Studies
What is your favourite thing about U of G? What was your most memorable experience here?
Although the food is phenomenal, it’s the community and interconnectedness of the students that is my favourite part. People are not afraid to reach out to you whether they know you or not. Supports are also everywhere you look whether it is mental health supports from Student Accessibility Services, the Wellness Education Centre, professors to small things like students handing out words of encouragement with candy during exam season or therapy dogs coming in during exam times too.
I have too many memories on this campus to name one but everywhere I look I am reminded of times that are close to my heart. Some notable ones are trivia at Brass Taps, painting The Canon, doing a 5k with my dog on campus and petting cows in between classes; this campus is a physical scrapbook of some of the best years of my life so far.
The one that stands out the most to me is when I was visiting the campus with my best friend, we got lost trying to find the science complex. This kind student noticed that we were lost and offered to walk us to where we were trying to go. That experience exemplified to me what a wholesome and inclusive community the University of Guelph fosters.
Please describe your campus & community involvement while at U of G (i.e. clubs, athletics, student organizations, jobs).
On campus, I was involved at the Wellness Education Centre as a peer helper, later promoted to Senior Peer of NAKED, the team that focuses on topics such as sexual health, healthy relationships and LGBTQ2SIA+ groups. I was in charge of leading a team of peers to put out relevant health campaigns and events to educate and support the students on campus. I also helped with the organization of Winter Pride, the STI Testing Event and the annual Sexpose.
I was also a representative for my program on the student council for the College of Social Applied Human Sciences.
I volunteered as a University of Guelph Ambassador, as a volunteer tour guide and was a student representative at Academic Open houses as well as Fall Preview Days for my program and served on panels as well. I even helped transcribe data for a professor’s research as well as edited another professor’s radio show for them.
I also was involved with Project Serve Guelph where I was able to go to high schools and teach students about sexual health.
I was employed as the social media intern for the Annual Guelph Sexuality Conference.
I was also a member of the badminton club on campus.
What prompted you to become a Liaison Officer? What excites you the most about this position?
I thoroughly enjoyed speaking at panels and fairs representing my program to prospective students and answering their questions! I also love speaking to people and public speaking! During the training for the peer helpers, a girl approached me and told me that I was the reason she was at Guelph. I was stunned to hear such a thing and honestly was a bit confused. She then went on to clarify that she attended one of the panels where I talked about my experiences as a student in the program and told me that I was a huge help to her because I stayed and answered all of her questions after the panel ended. To hear such a thing was so shocking but really showed me that you can make a difference in someone’s life whether you are aware of it or not. That’s what prompted me to go after this position, so I can continue to make an impact on students’ lives and help them out with what they perceive as a stressful time in their lives. With that being said, I’m looking forward the most to answering students’ questions but most importantly, lessening their anxieties over this process and reminding them that this will be a fun journey for them. When I was in their shoes, I remember freaking out about everything and looking back at it now, I see that it was unnecessary and wish I had someone who reminded me that everything would turn out all right.
What advice would you offer to potential U of G students?
Take full advantage of all the opportunities that come your way, you’ll never know who you meet/network with or you might even discover something about yourself you never knew before! Also, don’t be afraid to change your mind whether that be regarding your program, your interests or even what you want to do after you graduate!