Space to think
Chloe Pouliot, BA ’19, knew that she wanted to pursue her passion for philosophy at a university with an international spirit and a global reputation. The only problem: she also knew that she preferred not to travel too far from her hometown of Sept-Îles, Quebec. Fortunately, a McCall MacBain entrance scholarship and the Heather Munroe-Blum Leadership Award made it possible to attend McGill: the one place that met both of her requirements.
“All my life, I’ve been very good at thinking,” Chloe said. “People would tell me, ‘You can’t just think, you have to do stuff!’ And then I discovered philosophy, and learned that being a thinker or an intellectual is one of the most important things you can do.” Even before arriving at McGill, she had already begun to explore how her studies can translate into real-world impact. Just before starting her degree, she wrote a prize-winning philosophy essay that was published in the Montreal newspaper Le Devoir. (One reader wrote a letter to the paper saying the essay was so well done that there was no way a student could have done it.)
Despite her enthusiasm, coming to McGill presented Chloe and her family with a number of challenges. First, there was the matter of leaving the close-knit community of Sept-Îles—population 25,000— for a metropolis of 1.65 million strangers. “Back home, if I saw a girl crying on a bus in the morning, I would know who she was and why she was crying by the end of the day,” she recalled.
There were also the costs of leaving home for university, which Chloe knew were a source of concern for her parents. “They were very proud and very supportive, but they were worried about my finances,” she said. Fortunately, the scholarship and bursary ensured that Chloe and her parents could focus their attentions on all of the possibilities her education would offer. “It was a huge relief for my entire family,” she said. “It is great that an elite university like McGill not only rewards students who score the highest, but also the ones who have to fight to get where they are. Bursaries like the Munroe-Blum award provides an opportunity to students from [modest means] to have a university experience similar to their peers.”
Thanks to her financial freedom, Chloe has been able to focus exclusively on her studies instead of splitting time between schoolwork and a part-time job, and she’ll be heading to Scotland for an exchange program with the University of Glasgow in 2017. “That was inconceivable before,” she said. She’s even beginning to enjoy the hustle and bustle of the big city. “When I went home for the holidays, I discovered I missed it!”
Of course, as a professional thinker, Chloe is already considering where her future might take her—right now she imagines this might include graduate school. But wherever she ends up, receiving a scholarship will have been a huge part of what allowed her to get there.
At McGill’s Scholarships and Student Aid Office , we strive to make it easy for students to seek out funding opportunities within the Programs we administer. There’s no need to apply directly to individual awards like the one(s) mentioned in the story above. Instead, there’s a single application in Minerva for Major Entrance Scholarships, Entrance Bursaries, and In-Course Financial Aid programs respectively. If students are chosen as candidates within one of these programs, they are matched with a specific award based on their profile and the terms of the award set out in an agreement between the donor and the University.