University of B.C. student Saniya Jamal never dreamed that stress could be such a powerful ally and such a punishing opponent.
Jamal, who graduated last year from Western University in Ontario with a BA in French and linguistics, has set her sights on winning admission to a masters of audiology program.
With only 30 spots available each year across Canada, and hundreds of applicants vying for them, audiology is a wickedly difficult program to penetrate.
The 23-year-old Richmond resident is pushing herself hard.
She takes four prerequisite courses for audiology, works 20 hours a week at a coffee shop and volunteers with the World Partnership Walk charity.
Mentally and academically, she’s thriving. Physically, the pressure can take a toll.
She sometimes has too much work to do to sleep properly. Her stressed immune system is vulnerable to colds and flus.
“I don’t really have time to think about how stressed I am,” she says.
As is the case for tens of thousands of university students across Canada, Jamal’s stress will peak this month as she writes final exams.