Seeking Happiness: Aliyhia Bushie’s Quest To Find Her Own Path To Give Back
“You're still young. It's good to know what's out there and to not be afraid to just do what you want. Because really, at the end of the day, if something makes you happy, then I think that that's always the way to go.” Those are the words of inspiration Aliyhia Bushie wants to share with today’s youth. She’s come to these realizations on her own path of career and educational discovery.
Bushie is from Winnipeg, Manitoba and her family is from Hollow Water First Nation. She’s a first year university student at the University of Manitoba, dreaming of a career in healthcare. Throughout her time in high school, she was fascinated by the sciences and worked hard in those courses. Now in post secondary, she wants to apply that science to helping people and give back to her community, possibly through nursing.
What she found along the way was that high school was a lot less challenging than her current studies, which include many heavy courses. Initially, she wanted to do dentistry but she’s changed her mind after realizing you need nine chemistry classes. Chemistry is something she finds challenging and she would rather do something else. What she misses about high school was the way she was able to take challenging science courses and still have time to volunteer.
She used to be able to work with different Indigenous organizations or with her school, sharing her experiences with teachers as part of their professional development or leading student groups. With her current pace, she’s not as available for volunteering but it’s something she hopes to get back into. Living an hour away from campus, attending school five days a week, life is very full.
Reflecting on the advice she would give to students thinking about pursuing post secondary education, she says it’s a big step and can seem overwhelming, but it’s a step she feels anyone can take. Arriving at university, she cautions that they might feel like they don’t know what they are doing, especially as first year students, but she confides that everyone is in the same boat. What she recommends is going in with an open mind, knowing you might change your career and study path and to connect with the people who are there to help guide you academically in terms of what you need to take.
While going to school, she’s faced obstacles balancing her workload and homelife. “Grades are very important, especially if you want to get into a competitive field, but it's definitely worth it to think about your own mental health or maintaining relationships,” she offers, thinking about how she’s had to say no to social engagements to get things done. Balance is a work in progress for Bushie, finding time to play guitar, do yoga, exercise, or dance to maintain her mental wellness.
If she could give her younger self advice, it would be to not be so hard on herself and that it’s okay to change her mind. Bushie is someone who prefers to have everything figured out in terms of what she wants and how to get there and has learned to get more comfortable with uncertainty. She wishes she knew when she was younger that everyone goes through that and it’s not a bad thing.
Driving all her hard work is inspiration and what inspires Aliyhia Bushie are the youth in the programs where she’s volunteered, the people who create opportunities for youth and the dream of doing just that in the future. She loves seeing people empowering youth and wants to help people, especially youth, down the road. For now, she’s sharing her message of encouragement that young people should pursue their passions, doing what makes them happy. It’s what she’s doing and it’s helped her become an inspiration herself.
Thanks to Alison Tedford Seaweed for authoring this article.
Future Pathways Fireside Chats are a project of TakingITGlobal's Connected North Program.
Funding is generously provided by the RBC Foundation in support of RBC Future Launch, and the Government of Canada's Supports for Student Learning program.