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Sheetal Dhir. A Heart for Service.

Girl Warrior Stories| Views: 1786

Today we raise our fists high and put our hands together in celebration of our Feature Girl Warrior, dedicated Health Sciences student and passionate, caring volunteer Sheetal Dhir. With a big heart for service, Sheetal has been actively involved with the Healthy Living Youth Council, in coordination with the Directorate Agencies for School of Health BC (DASHBC), YMCA of Greater Vancouver, KidSafe Project Society, Family Respite Centre, and Vancouver Coastal Health. She is currently working towards becoming a Student Ambassador in collaboration with the Carrot Rewards App where she will be working with experienced mentors, and interacting with youth to spread awareness on how to live an active and healthy lifestyle. Sheetal’s main goal is to set a positive example for youth, so that they can make a difference within their communities.

What makes you a Girl Warrior? 

I don’t give up easily. Whether the situation is school, work, or family related I cope by staying calm, deeply analyzing the situation, addressing the pros and cons, while mentally taking note of what I can do to improve myself.

You have a heart for service and have done a lot of volunteer work. Tell us about your experience volunteering with the Healthy Living Youth Council.

It’s a student-led initiative facilitated by experienced mentors and coordinated with DASHBC (Directorate Agencies for School of Health BC). I worked with youth from all across BC – Vancouver, Richmond, Coquitlam, Nanaimo, Queen Charlotte Islands, Summerland, Kelowna, Pemberton, and Terrace.

As part of this council, we collectively targeted a number of important issues, such as, mental health, healthy living, healthy eating, stress management, coping with barriers, effective communication techniques, and seeking support systems. I gained many valuable skills including setting SMART goals, time management, active listening, team building, oral communication and leadership.

I actively participated in our monthly webinars, email discussions, annual kick-off event, and mid-year retreat. I collaborated with our mentors to develop a video project, which promotes a positive message to save water. Being on this council was truly a heart-warming and valuable experience. I had a great time making new friends, while establishing positive friendly connections to increase my social network.

As an Activity Leader working with clients who have Alzheimer’s, what’s the one thing we need to know for sure about people living with this disease?

There are a few things everyone should know. Firstly, it is extremely important to be mindful, patient, and respectful towards these individuals. They should be treated no differently than others. Secondly, effective communication is key, especially when interacting with them. Thirdly, we promote as much independence as possible. By actively listening to their points of view, seeking their input, and providing them with choices a therapeutic relationship is developed between the health care provider and client.

You’re working towards developing a long-term career in in Health Care. Do you consider this to be your “calling”?

Nursing is both a rewarding yet challenging profession. On the one hand, we’re involved in the process of labor and childbirth, and on the other we provide end of life palliative care.

My Mom inspired me. Today she is a Nursing Assistant (Registered Care Aid). When she came to Canada with my Dad, they both had a vision to give us a better quality of life filled with great opportunities. My Mom amazes me each and every day because she managed to complete her education while pregnant with me. Being a new immigrant, adapting to Canadian culture, customs, adjusting to her new family, carrying me, and completing her education, was not easy. (I have a lot of gratitude and respect for you Mom. Love you!)

Nursing is equally challenging because no two shifts or days are exactly alike. Everyday is filled with new experiences. Analyzing the trends of clients, providing care, prioritizing whom to attend first, addressing their needs, collaborating with senior colleagues, being aware of our scope, practice and limitations, along with providing accurate documentation. These are just some of the things we take into consideration in order to provide safe, competent and ethical care.

What is the importance of volunteerism?

Volunteerism plays a significant role in a person’s life. Not only does it allow us to give back to our community, it also gives us a general overview of a possible career path we may want to pursue.

When I was working with clients who had Alzheimer’s, I developed a therapeutic relationship with them. I noticed that there was a positive change in their behavior and overall mood. But I worked with some individuals who weren’t so keen in playing sports, or socially interacting with others. However, with the help of a smile, heart-warming personality, and a bit of encouragement, these clients looked forward to actively engaging in various activities like indoor bowling and beanbag toss, java music sessions, arts and crafts, reading and writing, sharing personal experiences, and attending their social tea gatherings. Being a part of their personal successes and everyday lifestyle was truly a rewarding experience.

What has been your biggest challenge so far?

First, I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and I tend to be very formal, so it’s simply about finding ways to re-tune myself so that I can be more free, comfortable, zone-out when necessary, and just go with the flow.

Secondly, would be my weight. I am a bit on the curvy side and due to school workload I go through phases where I chow down and over eat (which is terrible I know.) But I’m working my way through this, taking on more of a healthy, active lifestyle. I have committed to eating alternative snacks such as fruits, green vegetables, and cutting back on the sweets. (Chocolate and Pizza are my weaknesses!)

What obstacles have you overcome and walls have you broken down?

My academic journey has been a bumpy ride filled with ups and downs. Throughout high school I struggled in mathematics, particularly pre-calculus 11. I didn’t have much interest in graphing parabolas, determining domain, range, solving quadratic equations, and following through a bunch of formulas, which simply didn’t “stick” in my head. In fact, I had this fear because not only did it take me more time to solve every question, I’d get stuck on word-problems.

I took this class during the school year, and didn’t obtain my desired mark. I decided to retake it in the summer, hoping that I would score better. However there was a problem. Due to the BC teacher’s strike that particular year, summer school got cancelled and students weren’t able to attend classes. I had to take math 11 online during my grade 12 year. It was probably one of the hardest decisions I had to make.

After my first term of grade 12 (during winter break) I vowed that I’d grind myself over the next few weeks to clear math 11. I studied bit by bit every day, covering the concepts that I was weak in, completed practice questions, watched a ton of YouTube Videos, and attended additional tutoring classes to overcome this barrier.

A few weeks later, I took the exam and got my desired mark. After that experience, it truly taught me to chase after my dreams regardless of my position. No matter how hard something is, just dive in and go for it!

What would you say to other Girl Warriors to inspire them to “get involved” and to volunteer?

It’s a great opportunity to devote some time and get involved with their communities. I have noticed that there has been a bit of a downward trend in community involvement especially with the pre-teen, teen, and youth population these days.

At the same time, I completely understand that many have additional time commitments, are busy with peers, school, work, or whatever their situation may be, but again it’s a good idea to get involved at a younger age. Not only does this build a girl’s self-confidence, but it helps them make new friends, develop leadership skills, collaboration skills with their mentors, and they’re able to set an example for younger children as well.

Who is/are your Girl Warrior hero(s) and why?

My family – simply because they have been there through my pitfalls, and successes. They have always showered me with endless love and provided me with more than I truly deserve.

What’s next?

Great question. I have a bucket list of what I want to pursue, but I’m still in that half and half phase contemplating what is most suitable for me. Eventually the time will come and things will slowly be set into place. However, I’m fond of traveling, so if all goes well I do hope to take some time off to do that!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

To be quite honest, I’m not sure yet. However, wherever I will be, I do anticipate to progress well, set realistic goals, and find even better ways to be at inner peace.

What message would you put on a T-shirt designed specifically for you?

There are so many things, because I’m fond of inspirational quotes, but it would be something along the lines of, “Just Dive in, and Go for It.” My second choice would be, “Be a Warrior, not a Worrier.”

Connect with Sheetal on LinkedIn. She always looks forward to establishing positive, friendly connections!