Life has a funny way of changing on you. Up until a few months ago, the prospect of moving to Calgary, going to medical school, and eventually becoming a kick-ass doctor was still on the table for me. I suppose the option is still there if I keep at it, but after four years of studying science, two med school application cycles, two MCATs, and zero interviews…I feel as though God is leading me somewhere else. Where that is…I have absolutely no idea; I’m still in the process of figuring it all out.
This January, in the wake of yet another med school rejection, I was left to figure out where my life was heading. I have always been a very outgoing, sociable, and creative person, and although that was appreciated by patients and co-workers, that aspect of myself was stifled by working in clinical research. In an effort to maintain whatever was left of my creativity, which had taken quite the hit during university, I began blogging – chronicling my life, thoughts, dreams, and everything in-between. In doing so, I discovered a talent I didn’t know I had – writing. It was this new found gift that has helped me “cope” with the crumbling dream that I’d held for so many years. And you know what, I’m okay with it. It’s taken a lot of crying, discovery, sleepless nights, and encouragement from family and friends to get me to where I am now.
Which brings us to the birth of THE PODIUM.
I love writing; I also love reading insightful, thought-provoking, and engaging articles/blogs about things that actually matter. I am a Christian, and I hold certain beliefs and values, which I realize not everyone holds, including some Christians. These disagreements and differences can often be a catalyst to detach from one another, creating our own little cliques. Life becomes a giant high school, with the cool kids, the nerds, the jocks, and everyone else in-between. I decided that I would use my gift of writing to start a conversation – to bring people with differing perspectives, stories, and insights together to talk about the things that matter to young people. So, I decided to start THE PODIUM.
THE PODIUM is unique in that it is Canadian. Too often Canadians are left to simply consume the thoughts, values, and ideas of our neighbour (yes, spelt with a ‘u’) from the South, be it through magazines, television, or movies. But if you know Canadians, you know, we’re not American! Although similar, we have our own mind and identity. The same goes, I believe, for the Church. What is common and accepted for Christians in Texas or Seattle, may not necessarily be the case in Halifax, or Toronto, or Vancouver. THE PODIUM aims to be the place for us to talk about faith, culture, and life as it pertains to us as Canadians. Granted, I love American TV and movies, and let’s face it, I’d much rather watch NBC than CBC, but on THE PODIUM, our goal is to feature Canadian artists, projects, and issues as much as possible; an opportunity that may not be available otherwise.
Life is messy; sometimes the answers that so many, especially young adults, struggle to find are not always clear-cut, and stories are not always black and white. Our articles will strive to look at the other perspectives, challenge you, yet also encourage you on any given topic. We will be diverse, fun, and thought-provoking, maintaining a progressive and respectful approach throughout all our publications. We encourage people from all over “the true North strong and free” to submit articles on the following categories of topics:
- Faith + Life
- Love + Relationships
- Careers + Finances
- Music + Books
- Movies + TV
- Causes + Concerns (eg. Non-Profits and Missions)
I know this is a far cry from the world of medicine, and no where near being a doctor, but this feels right. I don’t feel as though I’m having to struggle to keep up – this feels natural. So take this opportunity to pull up a chair, join the conversation, and allow THE PODIUM to be a platform for your voice.
Octavia Ahsan is a writer/blogger from Brampton, a suburb outside of Toronto, ON. In 2010 she received a Bachelors degree in Science from McMaster University, and founded a charitable organization called CompassionActs. In March 2012 she founded The PODIUM, where she also serves as the Editor-in-Chief. She frequently writes for MilkandHoneyMedia.co.uk, a popular Christian girls blog based out of London, England, as well as her personal blog site OctaviaFaith.com. In her spare time, she likes to hunt for the best burrito in Toronto (Chipotle Mexican Grill holds the spot so far).