“A lot of students don’t follow a traditional path through university, and that’s ok. Try as many new experiences as you can, and explore opportunities outside your comfort zone. You’ll learn a lot about the world and about yourself.”
That’s the advice of Enoch Weng, who describes his own journey at Beedie as having “a lot of twists and turns.”
Those “twists and turns” have led Enoch to be a four-time FROSH leader, to play music in multiple bands, to take a year off from school after failing two terms, and to come back to win the Business Administration Student Society’s (BASS) Student Impact Award.
Enoch’s first two years at SFU Beedie were fairly typical. He had set his sights on accounting but later realized that that he was more interested in other subject areas. He explored Human Resources and Management Information Systems before choosing Finance as his concentration.
He was actively involved in student clubs and activities at the university. Despite having the added challenges that come with ADHD and Tourette Syndrome, Enoch was well on his path to building his career and education. But during his third year, Enoch’s younger brother was diagnosed with cancer.
Enoch shifted his focus to caring for his brother and began to struggle in school. He failed his courses that term. He tried harder during the next term but still failed. Enoch realized that what he really needed was to take care of himself and his family, so he took time away from school.
A year later, Enoch returned to SFU Beedie, and he was stronger than ever.
What gave him strength was the community at SFU – a support network that Enoch lacked during his high school years when he battled depression and anxiety. With the support of his peers and faculty members, Enoch rose to senior roles at AIESEC and became the President of the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS). In all of his leadership roles, Enoch has made it his goal to create an even safer and more caring environment for students in the university.
As SFSS President, Enoch worked with SFU’s Health and Counselling Services and a non-profit group called The Friendship Bench to install Western Canada’s first Friendship Bench – a yellow bench that, according to The Friendship Bench website, serves as a “year-round reminder to students to take a moment out of their day to sit, breathe, and talk (or think) about their mental health and that of their friends.”
This type of peer-to-peer support has always been meaningful to Enoch, who has mentored a number of younger students as an Orientation leader, FROSH Leader, and BASS Mentor. He has remained close to his BASS mentees – or “kids” as he playfully calls them. “My mentees have gone on to become [BASS] mentors to other students, so it’s like your ‘kids’ have their own ‘kids,’” he laughs.
Regardless of what stage students are in, Enoch’s advice to them is, “Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t be afraid to ask. The people around you might seem like they know exactly what they are doing, but they might just be putting on a brave face too.”
And thanks in part to Enoch’s efforts, if students ever need a friend to talk to about life’s “twists and turns”, there’s a perfect yellow bench for that.
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