Fruin Pow came to UBC in search of culture, art, and music. What he found was a close-knit and engaged community – and an untapped passion for behavioural neuroscience.
Born and raised in Smithers, BC, Fruin was inspired by the large and beautiful UBC Vancouver campus, and the rich variety of experiences available. Diving headfirst into student life, he found the resources and confidence to answer his own question of whether an undergraduate degree was the right choice for him.
Why did you choose UBC Vancouver?
I chose UBC because of the diversity of cultures and students here, and the many different arts and other activities available. I knew I would easily find my place in the UBC Vancouver community and be able to experience many of its features. I was also really attracted to the campus itself – I love its size and how breathtaking it is.
“I wasn’t certain pursuing an undergraduate degree was the right path for me after graduating high school. But when I arrived at UBC, I knew studying sciences was the right choice.” – Fruin Pow, Biology
How did you choose your area of study?
I wasn’t certain that pursuing an undergraduate degree was the right path for me after graduating from high school. But when I arrived at UBC, I knew studying sciences was the right choice for me. The classes were challenging yet engaging. I am currently in the Biology program, but after learning about the Behavioural Neuroscience program, I hope to transfer into it next year. It has been hard to pick which area of science I want to study. I chose Biology because I can see myself working in conservation ecology. However, Behavioral Neuroscience caught my eye at the very end of first year. I would love to be involved in research in the biological mechanisms of learning, or mental illness rehabilitation.
What’s been the best part of your academic experience so far?
Any hands-on courses with labs or projects were most exciting for me during my first year. I highly encourage all Science students to take BIOL 140 to gain practical experience in biology. As I am starting my second year, I’m learning there are many, many opportunities for undergraduate involvement and research. I am sure that I will get involved and build on what I learned in first year very soon.
Did you have a career in mind when you chose your program? Has that career goal changed?
When I first began classes, I had a career in conservation ecology in mind. However, my goal has shifted and now I’d like to be in the Behavioral Neuroscience program. I hope to work in mental illness rehabilitation/research, or help find solutions to make healthcare more accessible to trans* and gender-variant patients in Canada.
When you’re not studying, what’s your favourite thing to do on campus?
I love to bike and longboard around campus, and I’m pretty heavily involved with the UBC Pride Collective, a resource group run entirely by UBC students, for UBC students.
Do you belong to any teams, groups or clubs on campus?
At the beginning of my first year, I auditioned to play guitar in the UBC Jazz program. Since then, I’ve played guitar in UBC Jazz II(a jazz ensemble in UBC’s Faculty of Music). I also play music and sing whenever possible with the student-led UBC Jazz Café Club, and a small combo group. In the second semester of first year, I played on a rec hockey team called the Misfits. I strongly encourage students of any age to get involved with UBC recreational sports. It’s a blast!
How have extracurricular activities added to your time so far?
Involvement in art allows you to meet people with the same interests and goals, and immensely enjoy your time together. I love making music with other people almost more than anything else. Involvement with sports is the same, but it also keeps me physically active.
“Involvement in art allows you to meet people with the same interests and goals, and immensely enjoy your time together.”
Do you live in residence or off campus? What’s the best part about it?
I lived in residence in first year and now I live off campus. Residence is great in first year because you live in your community and instantly meet people who live and hang out in the same places as you. It’s a fantastic way to build a strong support network right at the start of your university experience. I like living off campus because, as an athlete, I enjoy cooking my own food and growing it in my backyard. I missed gardening so much while living in residence.
What’s your favourite on-campus event, and why?
Goosehunt is a small-scale, on-campus music festival with local and headlining artists. It’s so fun and bursting with excellent music. It’s coordinated by the Blank Vinyl Project, which is a student-led club that organizes on-campus opportunities for musicians to perform and jam.
Where’s your favourite place to study, and why?
In your opinion, what makes UBC distinctive from other universities?
The UBC Vancouver campus is like no other university campus because of its natural environment and the variety of breathtaking features. The multiple fountains and ocean views, the towering trees of Pacific Spirit Regional Park, and the gorgeous art installations make for an unforgettable stroll across campus.
What has your UBC experience helped you achieve so far?
Becoming heavily involved and working with the UBC Pride Collective has given me the resources and confidence to come out to my friends and family as transgender*. This has been invaluable for me.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us about your UBC experience?
If you want to make an event or project come to life, UBC is the place to do it. I have co-hosted and spearheaded a number of musical, LGBTQ2S+, and community projects on campus. If you are resourceful and excited to make things happen, they will. So, get involved with clubs, committees, and the community – you will see your ideas come to life.