Al’s story

How campus involvement has transformed Al's UBC experience for the better.

Al’s story
CategoryStudent
NameAl-Hassan Al-Shaibani
FromBaghdad, Iraq
ProgramMicrobiology and Immunology, English Literature
ActivitiesPresident's Entrance Scholarship Recipient, Student Leadership Conference Productions Logistics Coordinator, International Baccalaureate Diploma Program Graduate, Scuba Diver, Residence Adviser, Collegia Adviser, Campus Ambassador, Online Quiz Taker

 

‘Triple-major’ in Microbiology and Immunology, English Literature, and Community Involvement. Lover of books and bacteria. Bow-tie aficionado.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

Before visiting UBC and Vancouver, I kept hearing about how beautiful campus is! Once I got here, I found the beauty of campus really informs everything – the students and the professors are happy and approach learning, campus involvement, and the university experience as a whole, with so much positivity.

How did you choose your area(s) of study?

I was unsure of what major to choose before coming to UBC so I took an online quiz that said “You ought to be a vet!” so I went with it and started my studies in the faculty of Land and Food Systems studying Animal Biology. Then in first year, I took one course that had microbiology topics and found out that I love viruses and bacteria. So, I switched into the faculty of Science to major in Microbiology & Immunology. Then in second year, I took some elective courses in English Literature and found that I absolutely loved the classes, the books, and the students so I added English Literature as a second major in my third year.

How did you get involved outside of academics at UBC?

Attending the Student Leadership Conference (SLC) in my first year really shaped my degree at UBC. Coming from high school, I was focused on grades and academics but the conference made me realize that university is more about people and experience. Yes, academics are still vital but that’s only half the picture. I attended the conference again in my second year and found out that the SLC is entirely student-run. So in my third year, I got involved in the planning process as the Productions Logistics Coordinator. It has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done and an absolutely amazing experience. Not only has it opened up more opportunities on campus, the SLC has also given me the chance to work on things that I would not have otherwise had exposure to.

Derreck was so charming! #ubcslc @woosunkim @serena.ng @jquisias

A photo posted by Al-Hassan Al (@bowtieal) on

How has your attitude towards education changed during your time at UBC?

Having started UBC with a rigid approach to academics and learning (mainly that I would do one degree within four years and then graduate) has changed because of my experiences. The plethora of phenomenal involvement opportunities at UBC and the really cool variety of courses meant that I could not do all the things I wanted to do within four years, and why should I? I learned to make the most of the opportunities around and to really enjoy what I do, whether it is giving campus tours as a Student Ambassador between classes or enrolling in Psychology 207 – the Psychology of Brain Damage just for fun. With graduation approaching, I am thankful and blessed with all that I have accomplished at UBC and have learned to maintain a focus on my goals but also to enjoy the journey.

What has been your favourite part of studying at UBC?

I love the customizability that UBC has offered me in my degree: I was able to combine my passions into one degree while still having the room to take elective courses just for fun. What I love most though is UBC’s approach to learning. The university acknowledges that there’s a great deal of learning in the classroom but also outside the classroom. In turn, there’s a strong focus on getting involved in extracurriculars like clubs, sports or student organizations. This allows each student to really make their degree personal and to gain valuable experiences and connections.

Connect with Al on Instagram

Get involved on campus with these resources:

Take a campus tour or go on a virtual tour, attend the Student Leadership Conference, visit the Collegia, check out the Centre for Student Involvement and Careers, join a club, sports team, or undergraduate society.

Photo by Jon Chiang

Latest Stories

Previous

Giving back to her community

How Kaila volunteers her time to increase diversity and inclusion in Engineering
student

Giving back to her community

"Hearing [female students] say they want to be an engineer one day because of those events and initiatives is extremely encouraging" - Kaila Spencer, BASc in Civil Engineering

Life after UBC: working at Canada's biggest bank

How Nene uses his UBC degree to help advance AI in finance
alumni

Life after UBC: working at Canada's biggest bank

"UBC is a world-class institution where you can define not only your long-term career, but who you are and the impact you intend on having locally and globally." - Nene Azu, Bsc in Economics

Helping build community

How Jimmy's experiences on both campuses allows him to give back to others
student

Helping build community

"UBC values the diverse and multicultural backgrounds of each student. Because of this, I never felt left out." - Jimmy Chokmeesuk, BA in Psychology

Trading Texas for Vancouver

How Anna found her community in a new country
student

Trading Texas for Vancouver

"I knew UBC was for me when I stepped on to campus for the first time for a campus tour, and had that "aha" moment." - Anna Stone, BSc in Global Resource Systems

Making an impact on the planet

How Ainsley decided to study what she loved
student

Making an impact on the planet

"I knew that nature and forests were always something I was interested in, but I had no idea they were something I could study at university!" - Ainsley Hannah, BSc in Natural Resources Conservation

Coming to UBC as an international student

How Rutendo settled in after arriving from Zimbabwe
student

Coming to UBC as an international student

"It’s the sense of community and planning that transformed my dream school into my second home." - Rutendo Musuka, Bachelor of Applied Science (BASc) in Electrical Engineering

Preparing for UBC before classes start

How UBC's orientations helped set Srishti up for success
student

Preparing for UBC before classes start

"By the end of my Jump Start experience, I began feeling like I was actually a part of UBC - and I bet you’ll feel the same way." - Srishti Gojamgunde, BA in Psychology

Building a career as an artist

How the Visual Arts program helped Barb find her voice
alumni

Building a career as an artist

"I knew I wanted to be a full-time artist, and work towards cultural knowledge and sharing of knowledge." - Barb Dawson, Bachelor of Fine Arts
next