Harpreet Aulakh moved from Edmonton to Calgary in January 2017 to pursue a second degree at the University 0f Lethbridge Calgary Campus with the Dhillon School of Business - a Bachelor of Management in Human Resource Management and Labour Relations. She had previously completed a Bachelor of Science at University of Alberta in 2014.
The reason for my return to school was two-fold: I wanted to explore an alternative career path while also boosting my GPA to open doors to higher education. I chose HR after reflecting upon my work experiences and conducting research into the field and future opportunities.
Harpreet had originally planned to make the move to Lethbridge to study but ultimately decided the Calgary campus was a better fit for her.
Choosing Calgary meant saving 2 hours each way every time I decided to visit home – which ended up being quite often! Furthermore, I knew Calgary’s job market would be more opportune both as a student and new graduate once I had completed my degree.
So she made the move to Calgary in January 2017.
I promised myself that this time around, I would take a more proactive approach to my education – which meant studying hard to get good grades, networking and getting as much advice as possible, and seeking opportunities to get involved.
One of those opportunities was a job placement with the University's Co-operative Education (Co-op). Harpreet began working with the late Doreen Kooy. Doreen provided Harpreet with comprehensive resume and interview coaching that ultimately gave her the confidence to secure a 12-month work term with Imperial Oil beginning January 2018.
I will always be so grateful to Doreen and her infectiously positive spirit for all of her guidance during that time in my life; it definitely played a part in getting me to where I am today.
Harpreet's exposure to employment law through her work experience and some uLethbridge classes (Labour Relations taught by Kelly Williams-Whitt and Employment Law taught by Jason Copping) influenced her decision to pursue law school.
I knew this was a stretch goal and wasn’t the most confident in my ability to succeed, but a stroke of luck brought all the right people with the right advice into my life at the right time. Unfortunately, life took a bit of a turn at the end of 2018.
Harpreet lost her biological father and grandfather two months apart. She took a mental health break to deal with the grief, but ultimately decided in the summer of 2019 to study for the LSAT and officially apply to law school during the Fall 2019 admissions cycle.
This entire process was one of the greatest challenges I’ve ever dealt with, but also a blessing in disguise. Staying focused while grieving was a challenge. Balancing school and LSAT-studying was a challenge. However, it was also a blessing in that accomplishing this goal inspired a sense of pride that I’ll always carry with me. Getting through that year and meeting some of the most enthusiastic goals I set for myself has given me plenty to reflect on for the next little while. I’ve learned that hard work and consistency will always pay off.
She applied and received offers from both University of Calgary and University of Alberta, and decided in March to accept her offer from University of Alberta. She moved back home to Edmonton in January of this year where she's been working at PCL Construction as an HR Programs Student.
I look forward to being home for the next few years during my next academic adventure: the JD. I feel incredibly blessed and excited about this opportunity, but would be remiss not to mention the incredible support I received from my peers, professors, and mentors at uLethbridge. I can’t thank Kelly Williams-Whitt and Robbin Derry enough for what I imagine were spectacular letters of recommendation. Jocelyn Wiltshire was one of my favourite and first professors I looked up to for advice as I considered future career paths. Employment Law taught by Jason Copping both piqued my interest in and gave me some confidence in my ability to succeed in law school. Though this is not an exhaustive list of everyone who made an impact on me or my decision to pursue law, they were definitely important folks who were there- whether they fully know it or not- to guide me when I needed it. Thank you.
I guess if I had to summarize this story into a TL;DR, it would be this: don’t be afraid to start anew, to set ambitious goals for yourself, and to work hard to achieve them. On your way there, make sure to take note of the people who both directly and indirectly impact you – and be sure to let them know! I am so excited for the next chapter of my life, and will always look back on my time in Calgary and at Uleth and with fondness.