Once upon a time, Gurpreet Gill was a straight-A student in high school until she lost herself. “I was dealing with some personal hardship and started to hang out with a bad crowd. I made choices I wasn’t proud of.”
After graduation, Gurpreet knew she needed a change in her life to have the future she wanted. “I presented myself as the happiest person in the world, but inside I was sad and lost. I knew I needed to break the negative cycle I was caught in.” She decided to attend a family event in England, booked a three-week vacation, and ended up staying for 13 years.
Almost immediately, Gurpreet made a choice: She wasn’t going home. “I was at peace for the first time in years. I stopped my self-sabotaging behaviour and thought, ‘If I stay in England I can find myself again.’” Gurpreet knew she wanted a career helping people. She found a nursing program and didn’t look back. Gurpreet found herself while she was in school but there was still something, or someone, missing.
In a new place with new faces, but still carrying the baggage from her previous life, Gurpreet didn’t try to meet people right away. She needed to heal first. “I was scared to make friends again. I didn’t want to fall back into old habits.” After a year, she was ready. “On my days off, I would go to the local pub for lunch. I thought if I talked to the people working there, I might be able to make friends.”
That is when Gurpreet met Scott.
“Scott lived above the pub. He would come down and I would think to myself, ‘He seems nice.’ One night at closing, the staff invited me to stay. Scott and I got to talking and exchanged numbers. We have talked every day since.” The lovebirds dated and eventually took the big leap to marriage. It took a journey of over 7000 kilometres for Gurpreet to find herself and her soulmate.
Gurpreet was happy again. She had her husband, a new baby boy, and a fulfilling career as a community nurse. “I have always wanted to help people. When I work in health care, I can help heal people wholly. It is more than just fixing a hurt leg or a strained muscle. It’s offering a kind word or a comforting smile, too.” After 13 years, Gurpreet and Scott made the choice to move their family to Canada. Gurpreet was going home.
As an internationally trained nurse, Gurpreet was unable to quickly transfer her credentials to Canada. “I spent a few years taking exams, talking to people, and filling out forms. I started to feel sad again and it got worse the longer it went on,” she explains. “I thought my career was all sorted and I was independent. Suddenly, I didn’t have my career – my identity – and I was living with my parents again.”
Then Gurpreet found Stenberg College’s Medical Lab Assistant (MLA) Diploma program. “I wanted to work in health care but I wanted a quick program. I had tried other jobs but didn’t feel fulfilled.” Almost immediately after starting the MLA program, Gurpreet regained her sense of purpose. She became a leader who cared about her classmates and their success as well as her own. “We would come about an hour early to class. I would fire off questions and the group would answer. That way, it was easy to figure out what the class needed more help with.”
The small class enabled her to keep focus. “In nursing school in England, the classes had 200 students. I was just a number. With only 15 classmates at Stenberg, I was engaged. My instructor could be one-on-one with me. I got to know and care about my classmates and together we built a supportive learning community.” Gurpreet found her purpose, her passion, and her career as an MLA.
Now with two little boys, a loving husband and a home of her own, Gurpreet is happy. She has found her passion and gained the independence she always craved. Today, you can find this former nurse at two local hospitals, fulfilled. “I love that as an MLA, I get to talk to people who might be scared or nervous. I do my best to help them feel comfortable and leave with a smile. I’m making a difference and that makes me happy every day.”