My name is Zaynab Aslam Malik; I am in my 3A term of Biomedical Sciences here at the University of Waterloo, and I am more grateful than I could ever express.

My life as a student is a dream – one that I am unsure how I got lucky enough to receive. My dream to become an optometrist just requires a pinch more work, a touch less sleep, and the kindness of those who generously invest in students.

Why did you choose to attend UWaterloo?


The University of Waterloo chose me in November of 2016, and it has been a crazed journey ever since. Although I never visited the campus or talked to any students or alumni, Waterloo always occupied a unique corner of my mind and heart. Even now, I am hard-pressed to think of why that is so. What I do know is that Waterloo is a community that thrives on other people thriving. This is a place that knows it is not the last stop for most, and equips its students with fuel to continue down their path and tackle whatever comes ahead.

Zaynab in the libraryBeyond the atmosphere at Waterloo, a large part of my decision was because of the need to stay close to my hometown. Milton is about an hour and 45 minutes bus ride from campus, and I go home every Friday to work, volunteer and keep up with any family responsibilities I am unable to complete in Waterloo. This has most certainly had an impact on the social aspect of University, but again, trickles back to a privilege I can never complain about.


Why is receiving financial assistance important to you?


It means I can focus on what I came here to do: learn and help learn. If my mind is a fixed container of mounting pressure, financial support and awards are the open valve that brings it back to manageable levels.

It is one of my greatest aspirations in life to see my name with those who are investing in students. I was lucky enough to receive support that helped me focus on my studies. I want nothing more to pass along the open valve and release some pressure from a student who is silently struggling.

If my mind is a fixed container of mounting pressure, financial support and awards are the open valve that brings it back to manageable levels.



What achievement in your life are you most proud of?


Receiving the Milton District Hospital Youth Bursary Award from the Milton District Hospital Auxiliary Board was one of the greatest honours of my life. I have volunteered once a week at the hospital since grade nine and have learned more than I can express with my time there. By receiving this award, I felt a sense of acknowledgement from the community I held so close to my heart, and that feeling motivates me to this day to continue with my silent efforts in helping people.


What would you like to do in the future?


While I am sure there is no unique way to say this, I want to become a doctor – specifically, a Doctor of Optometry. With the progression of time, my passion has gotten stronger and has reached a point of no return. As a proud millennial, I stand with my generation as we say that we want to make an impact in our careers. I believe that with my particular skillset, I can make the most significant impact in the healthcare sector as an optometrist.