Andrea Flett starts off her day by studying for her dream job – to become a doctor.
“Just trying to find the time to do all the studying,” she said. “Get everything write up before each class.”
The 29-year-old student from St. Theresa Point in Manitoba moved to Winnipeg a decade ago to finish high school
While she’s taking pre-med classes now, it wasn’t that long ago that her chance to go to medical school almost vanished.
Moving to the big city took its toll.
“There’s a whole range of diversity. Up north everyone’s the same – everyone knows everybody,” said Flett. “And you’re with family all the time. But here you’re all alone most the time.
“You have to learn things for yourself.”
When Flett got to Winnipeg she stayed with relatives – and later got her own place.
Like many of her peers, she faced the challenge of homesickness.
“It’s the loneliness that got to me. And I felt like I couldn’t breathe most of the time because I just missed my family and everyone here I didn’t really know,” she said.
Flett said she has family come and stay with her every now and then.
This helps her with the feeling of loneliness and kept focussed.
She graduated from high school – but found out her grades didn’t meet med school university standards.
“I didn’t have the proper requirements to take a program I really wanted,” she said. “I also wasn’t really feeling confident in that before. So I did something else that actually really scared me because I was so shy and didn’t really talk to people. So I took Theatre and Film.
During that time she became sidetracked with personal issues including the loss of her youngest brother.
“I guess it’s the way you deal with tragedies like this. I’ve dealt with them a long time already,” she said. “I keep thinking like what would he want for me? He wouldn’t want me to stop. He wouldn’t want me to quit.
With help from her mother and school councillors, Flett learned to cope and carry one.
It took nearly seven years, but in 2016 Flett graduated from the University of Winnipeg – and is now enrolled in pre-med classes.
“I want to make it – I want to be a doctor,” she said. “That’s my main goal right now. It’s what’s getting me through every day. I don’t know how long it will take me or how I can get there. I know I will – I know I’ll eventually make it through.