Humans of SFU


Shinelle and Melanie were performing as a part of SFU’s International Festival on Friday.

Shinelle: A lot of people don’t know about Sri Lanka. A lot of people don’t know that Sri Lanka exists. That’s something we continuously run into. People think we’re Indian or Fijian, which is ok, but it would be nice if Sri Lanka were better known.

Melanie: It would be nice to identify, for Sri Lanka to be known in a more global sense. It’s a very beautiful country, a lot of diversity there. Within our own community outside of the university, we do have a huge population of Sri Lankans here, we do have local events, and there was never really an opportunity for younger students to get together and promote their own youth, so we thought it was a great idea if we had the school to back us up here and we thought: there are so many people around us, why don’t we get together and form a club? We actually ended up meeting so many people, so many Sri Lankans, not just Sri Lankans, but all these different types of people.

S:  When we first started, we didn’t have a lot of problems, because the school was very supportive of the idea.

M: Getting people interested in the club was a big challenge we had right from the beginning. A lot of people would come up to the club table and say “Oh hi, we don’t want to join the club but you’re cool.” Like today, we see a lot of people that we know by name, like they’re friends, but they don’t want to join. That’s the biggest challenge.

S: It’s also difficult keeping members interested in the club, keeping them active. Sometimes responsibilities fall on other people more often than they need to. We’ve been pushed to our limits a few times.

M: She’s the calm one when everybody else is stressed out. I’ve seen her managing to keep calm and I know how stressed she is and she still manages to get the job done. That’s pretty amazing.

S: It’s taxing because sometimes I don’t even get to talk about that with my parents either.

M: A lot of our parents are really traditional, so for them obviously they love seeing us doing all these things in school, but their main focus is for us to do school, not to get distracted. I recover by dancing, or performing.

S: I sing, that’s the only way that I can define relaxing for me. I do overthink a lot and I get stressed out a lot and then the club stuff, which I enjoy doing, and there’s a lot of event planning I would love to do but I wouldn’t say that was relaxing, so that’s my kind of secret outlet.

M: I used to perform a lot, but now I’m in school, with work, it’s hard. Dancing is like an outlet, and especially with this club, meeting all these new friends, within ourselves is like a stress reliever.

The Peak: What’s something most people don’t know about you?

M: I don’t talk about this much, but I’ve been to a lot of countries and I’ve seen a lot of cultures. One of the main reasons […] is my dad. He loves to travel, so he takes us with him wherever he goes, and just taking bits and pieces of that from everywhere. I don’t like to boast about it, it’s just something personal. Learning about these things and seeing it, like in Rome, life is such a crazy experience, and I value those experiences.

S: I would say a lot of people don’t realize that I also get stressed out and I also go through a lot of emotional issues. I’ve had a few people come experience and say “You have problems? I didn’t know you were going through so much.” I’m very careful about filtering it out.

WEB-Melanie and Shinelle


Celia was waiting in the AQ, reading.

Celia: I don’t see myself on par with a lot of my other classmates; they’re really, really dedicated and I go through phases of “Man I’m so dedicated to this this week!” and then I work my ass off on a million other things and I lose my enthusiasm every once in a while.

I just really, really hope that I stay committed and I try and involve myself in being a part of the research community here at SFU or any other institution that I find myself at. I need to find a job between now and finishing graduate school. I hardly see myself jumping from my undergrad to my graduate degree. I hope maybe I’ll find a co-op and find I’ll be able to smooth talk my way into a job in what I have studied, so then if nothing else works, then I would be more than happy to keep studying and be a doctor.

When I was little I was like ‘I want to be a dermatologist,’ and it was so weird. Until I was about 13, I wanted to be a dermatologist and work as a GP. Then I started realizing what doctors and dermatologists did and I was like, “What the hell? That sounds awful.” And now I’m back on that train [laughs].

I think my parents told me that word, ‘dermatologist,’ and I was like, ‘wow, so many syllables!’ [laughs]. And they look at skin, like, ‘So cool!’ [laughs]. And then I kept learning about it and I’m open to anything. I don’t know, it’s just once you learn it, my knowledge will be applicable to all streams of things, as I mould myself to be what the world needs. . . maybe?

The dream is, when I do get to a position where I’m not compromising finishing my degree for a career [. . .] The dream is I’m not going to have to try and make a spot for myself to be in.

I don’t want to be a server for the rest of my life. It’s not gratifying to be really good at your job for somebody, it’s just so meaningless. You’re not really making a difference. It’s just food and booze.”

P: What’s something most people don’t know about you?

C: People know I don’t take very good care of myself, like they know I really like bourbon and I really like cigarettes and I really like to pull all-nighters for three days straight, and then sleep for a couple days. What nobody knows that I have this immune system of diamond, it’s impenetrable. I only get sick when I let myself get sick, when I choose to go sleep for a couple days, then I’ll go to sleep for 12 hours and I wake up, can’t even function, and go back to sleep. So it’s very hidden when I let myself deteriorate, and obviously why would I let anyone see myself at my worst?

I’m trying to get back into gear so people can see me being good at life. Good at being an adult who takes care of themselves. That’s like my weekly routine, actually. [. . .] Tuesday’s like most productive day of the week, absolute favourite. That’s not a secret though, everyone knows that.

[. . .] I do checklists; I don’t do itineraries. If you give me a strict schedule, like 8 o’clock be here, 9 o’clock be here, and you won’t see me.

They just terrify me. I’m the [. . .] tardiest person you will ever meet, and I think it’s probably my absolute biggest weakness, like the weakness that probably ruins everything about what I believe in and what I want to do and stuff. I feel humiliated when that happens. Like what could possibly be so important that you wasted 10 minutes for you to disrespect for other classmates and your prof?

If I don’t feel like I know all the material well enough to write my assignment, I will not even start it, because I’m not about to try to half ass it, I would rather do that than fail [. . .]. I would rather straight up just get a 0 [instead]. Are a lot of people like that?

I just don’t know how I’ll ever work hard enough to put myself in a situation where being above average is noticeable or makes a difference, [. . .] I want to be an awesome MBB student or an awesome science student. It’s just like sad when that’s a compromise, when I compromise my energy to do petty things, like something that would change my path.

Yeah I’ve been deep in thought about it so thanks for bringing it up, my friend.



Two new FIC students, Pradhyman and Rahul, who came from India, were taking turns taking each other’s picture in front of the pond.

Pradhyman: We aren’t used to this ambience. Before we met you, we were taking it in. There are quite a few new things out here. The education pattern is quite different. Like here there’s a lot of use of technology, like electronic devices, like computers, projectors, and emails.

Rahul: Teachers here expect you to know everything before you come to class, so that’s new too.

P: There is more emphasis on the practical things than theoretical. There’s a lot of exploring stuff in computing as well. It’s mostly hands-on. Sometimes I find theoretical knowledge is a bit lacking here, because we have been used to first learning the theory, understand how it works, and then you do the practical application. In a new place, when you see the practical application first, you don’t understand what’s going on. Different style.

R: Orientation was excellent here. Exciting.

P: Fun activities. It’s mostly the orientation where you make friends.

R: Because we don’t have the same classes. Only one common class, but still we know each other. And many other friends that don’t have classes with us.

P: Friends is just, we meet at school time, and. . .

R: At home, we are alone.

P: Which is why I talk with my parents often.

R: Same here, I talk for hour, hour and a half.

P: We hope to stay in Canada but there is no telling for sure because it’s a totally new culture. The only thing is that we should complete our graduation in four years.

R: First thing is we should transfer into SFU. That’s our first goal, after that completing our graduation. Seriously. We are a little bit depressed with our studies right now. We are not able to manage our timetable right now actually. Wasted our whole day today.

P: Sometimes it happens, it’s not every day.

P: What’s something most people don’t know about you?

P: I played drums. We had a band in high school. We used to go to different Indian universities and perform and win prizes. So I was a drummer and this is what my friends don’t know about me.

R: I was selected as best artist in my school. I’ve left drawing for one year, I haven’t made any paintings or drawings for one year, but I’m a good artist and my friends don’t know. I love pencil sketches. It’s my favourite.

WEB-The pond guys


Victoria was drinking coffee, and giggling constantly.

Victoria: As an elementary school student, my favourite class was science, because everything else, English, social studies. . . was dull and sort of repetitive. And science was a place where I could learn something new in each class, find out how things work.

[. . .] I have siblings so I don’t control the remote, I just watch what they watch and then I got stuck watching forensic TV shows. I heard that season 10 [of Bones] could be the last one. There are so many episodes and I still haven’t caught up with everything.

I thought it was fascinating how they could clue together a situation like that and then come up with a scenario and actually catch the murderer with just tiny pieces of evidence. I’m interested in forensics, so I’m not sure how to go about studying that, but I will [laughs].

I moved from Las Angeles to Vancouver but I’m still living with family. I was born there, and then I moved here for university. I have relatives here. The biggest part was the tuition cost. In Las Angeles, in California in general, the university costs even, if you’re already living there, [are] sky high.

Despite the extreme melting pot that you’ve got going on here, there isn’t any good Mexican food. There is not. I had to go back to LA and gorge myself during winter break. It’s good and cheap.

P: What’s something most people don’t know about you?

V: Usually, if I’m alone or just walking somewhere, out of nowhere I get these little freak outs in my head and it just, the stress sort of just goes up. And by the time I get home or something it just flattens out. It’s just sort of a tight knot. And then everything just sort of goes crazy in my head, sort of feels like I can’t handle everything, and then the moment I see someone or something, it just gets shoved into a corner.

I just take a good long shower to relax, [laughing] a really wasteful amount of water long. Like an hour. Because in the shower it’s just me, and there’s nothing but steam and it’s just relaxing. Not only but physically but mentally.



Daphne was waiting in the hallway for some friends.

Daphne: “I was in grade 11 and there was a cute boy I was sitting next to who was a year older and he was like I’m going to kinesiology at SFU I was like oh. And I kind of just ended up here. I knew I wanted to go into sciences beforehand, but I guess he kinda decided that before me. We were friendly, and he was cute and I liked being around him. Since he was a year older he actually transferred to [the university of] Guelph when I just got here and I was a little disappointed, but I would have come here regardless so it’s ok.

Since then I’ve definitely matured, I’m definitely quieter, in the hallways I mean. I feel like it’s really easy to pick out first year students kind of. You can tell with their attitude, right? So I feel like I was probably once sort of there, but I’m not anywhere like that now. I’ve definitely actually learned how to study since I didn’t do that in high school.

The wakeup call was getting my grades back [laughs] because honestly high school was just a breeze. First year, working at the same level as I was at high school, so bare minimum, I realized that doesn’t work here. And it’s hard to make friends, but people are less judgmental here. I think everyone’s more independent kind of, there’s less cliques in the classroom. It’s hard to make a friend because you might talk to someone one day and you’ll never see them again.

P: What’s something most people don’t know about you?

D: I feel like I’m really open about everything. My friends know a lot, I don’t know.

Any hobbies?

D: No, I just like to nap. I just come to school and I go home and I nap. And then I just come back here the next day [laughs]. If I was on vacation at home, I wouldn’t sleep all day, but I would just stay in bed [and watch Netflix]. Or spend a lot of time on my phone. Like on Sunday I was in bed until maybe 5:30.


I met this gentleman who had a peculiar way of introducing himself.

Nicholas: My name is Woo, Nicholas Woo.

I watched the James Bond movie twice, and I got the poster. I was watching Goldfinger, but I’m leaning a little more to the new ones. There are always exceptionally well-cut suits. They aren’t unrealistic; if it’s tailored right, you can still move well. What I’ve heard is that if you make the arm hole tight, it lets you move easier.

I have three [suits], and three tuxedos. My navy blue one is my favourite. Timeless suits are best. When you buy a suit, be sure that the shoulders fit properly. You can’t change the shoulders after.