Samra Khan

Q: What is one thing you miss about university?
A: There are many things I miss about university; the wealth of knowledge, being young and full of ideas, the all-nighters in the library, and the list goes on. But if I had to pick one, it would definitely be meeting  peers from all around the world.

I don’t think there’s ever a better time to meet people from so many different countries, cultures and educational backgrounds. Befriending people is a significant part of the whole university experience and being in UW definitely gave me the chance to meet interesting people from all over. This experience was mind-altering, as I gained exposure to so many different ideologies and ways of living. Through this experience, I became consumed by wanderlust and I promised myself to travel all around the world.

Q: What did you decide to do after graduation? How is your Economics degree applicable to your field of work?
A: I was working with the Canada Border Services Agency as a Student Border Service Officer, and had the opportunity to start with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) right out of my final year. My job basically revolved around preventing and deterring the illicit use of employment insurance (EI).  A huge part of it was interpreting and analyzing policies and legislation, along with data-mining systems and interviewing claimants to ensure compliance.
I then got the opportunity to work for the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB): a no-fault insurance and compensation board for workers in Ontario. I started off as an Adjudicator and was recently promoted to a Case Manager.

With a background in economics, it seems anything is possible, as it is applicable to many different fields of work. With my degree in economics, I was able to gain and apply many skills and abilities that have helped me progress my career: analyzing data sets, policies and trends, strong research skills, problem-solving skills, awareness of current affairs, presentation of complex information, critical thinking skills, and numeracy and statistics skills, just to name a few.

Q: If you were to do one thing differently during your undergrad, what would it be? Why?
A: If I could do one thing differently, without a second thought, it would be studying abroad and being part of an exchange program. That is one thing I definitely missed out on, and it’s unfortunate because UW offers more than 140 different exchanges with universities in over 36 countries. I feel that by going on an exchange while in undergrad, I would have gained exposure to foreign environments, developed awareness, and not to mention, unforgettable memories.

Q: What would be the best piece of advice you would give students?
A: Attend your classes and enjoy every bit of your university experience! Students have probably heard the first bit many times, but I can’t stress its importance enough. Not attending classes prevents us from getting a full university experience. I know it’s often hard to get up early and make your way to class (been there, done that), but you would be surprised by how much you can cut your study time later on. Additionally, classes allow you interaction with your professor and peers. Lastly, don’t forget to enjoy your university experience; this time does not come back and as you will soon learn, it will probably be some of the most fun and memorable years of your life.

Q: What did you want to be “when you grew up”?
A: Every few days, I would come up with something new that I wanted to be. Archaeologist, astronaut, scientist, doctor, entrepreneur; I’ve literally wanted to be it all as a child! But more than anything else, I have wanted to make a difference and help those around me. That is something I have continuously sought and most of the time found, when looking at my career choices/job opportunities. And to a great extent, I feel like I have been able to find a lot of meaning in what I now do.

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