As Gabriel Dix was winning one of UBC Okanagan’s top academic awards this week at convocation, the human kinetics graduate admits there was some irony in his accomplishment.
Dix confessed he wasn’t the top student coming out of high school, but after struggling in his first year at UBCO, he flipped a switch and asserted his efforts towards his grades.
His efforts earned him the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal, an award given to the student with high-academic standing and work in the community or around the world.
“One day, I woke up and decided to try harder. When I was in high school, I thought I wanted to be a personal trainer, so I tried for that. Then I thought, maybe I could be a physiotherapist? So I tried a little harder. And I did well. Then I thought I could try medicine,” Dix said.
“I told myself I can do this if I tried hard enough. I kept trying and working hard and I kept getting the results I needed.”
Heading into university, Dix chose to take easy prep courses instead of looking into the more work-demanding courses like physics and pre-calculus.
Now heading towards a master’s degree, Dix said that it he needed a college-upgrading program to get entrance to UBC Okanagan.
“I used to be pretty self-limiting,” Dix said.
“I almost failed out of college and university. My first year of human kinetics at UBCO I earned an average of 69 per cent. The cut off to pass is 65.”
This is the first time UBC Okanagan has been able to offer the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Inclusion, Democracy and Reconciliation. To be eligible, a student must also show some work in either inclusion, democracy and reconciliation—Dix has all three covered.
Along with his volunteer hours as a basketball coach with Special Olympics Kelowna, he also volunteers weekly at Kelowna General Hospital and is an executive member of the UBC Okanagan Pre-Medicine club.
Dix currently works as a research assistant with the UBCO Community Health Research Eminence Project which focuses on people living with mental health challenges, diabetes or obesity in both aboriginal and non-aboriginal settings.
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