A Different Kind of Success

Map Team
Divya (centre) with Marybeth, Julia, and others during our streetwalk training

By Divya Tamilselvan, student

Something you don’t normally find at university: a service that is devoted to helping students become who they are and learn about their true motivations, values, and desires. Open Circle has enriched and revolutionized all circles of my life. The profound internal changes that it’s brought about within me allows me to engage more deeply and honestly with the world around me. Open Circle has provided me with tools to understand who I am and how I can apply these lessons in other areas of my life.

The university experience can sometimes influence students to become someone other than who they are or to put aside parts of themselves in order to belong or to excel. This was the case for me, as my need for belonging and desire to do well in school influenced the types of activities I took up, the way I engaged with others, and how I thought about the world around me. Some of these activities, relationships, and beliefs were not aligned with my true self.

I started attending the “Becoming Yourself” series, and I remember I had hoped to learn how I can change some parts of myself to fit in more and do better in university. To my surprise, the series led me on a journey of self-discovery rather than self-improvement, and I learned that I didn’t have to conform to external expectations and ideals in order to be successful.

As I started attending more reflection circles and got more involved in the Open Circle community, I was able to embrace my true self and find strength in my vulnerability. The connections I’ve made here truly make the university experience deeply fulfilling and enriching. I learn so much from other students’ stories as we connect as people without regard to year or program, moving away from anchoring our identities to academic titles. Ultimately, my experience in Open Circle has shifted my focus to a different kind of success that is holistic, meaningful, and connected, and for that I am deeply grateful.