Rewriting her story and making a difference

By Maia Odegaard, Marketing and Communications

Photo by David Denofreo

For Creative Writing student Telka Pesklevits, Douglas College changed from a stepping stone in her post-secondary plan to the setting for her entire educational journey. While she initially planned to transfer her credits into media studies at UBC, Telka stayed on at Douglas and took advantage of all the great opportunities offered at a smaller post-secondary institution.

“My time with the Creative Writing Department has been such a great experience,” says Telka. “Getting one-on-one feedback in a workshop format really pushed me to pursue creative writing. And, the feedback model has also helped me with my academic writing skills.”

So what does the future hold after graduation? “My plan is two-tiered. I want to write. Poetry with social meaning is my passion and this is a golden age for modern poetry, it would be great to be involved in that,” says Telka. “I would also love to work in a non-profit doing communications. I think working in the non-profit sector would be so inspiring. One of my fellow directors at the student union is currently doing communications for CUPE, something like that would be my ideal.”

Telka is passionate about pursuing a career that combines her creative thinking and writing skills with the contextual social foundation she’s gained during her education. “I want to do something that I know will help change and improve the lives of others,” she says. “Whether on a big scale or a small one, I want to help people.”

There are many groups that she hopes to positively affect over the course of her career, including women, people with disabilities – especially invisible disabilities – and the LGBTQ community. “I’m also Métis,” she adds. “That’s part of why I work for the Aboriginal Student Services centre. Reconciliation is very important to me. Whether or not that’s exactly the work I’m doing, it will be a guiding practice.”

During her time at Douglas, Telka has studied a number of subjects to bolster her skill set, including business, anthropology and more. In addition to her classes, she’s also rounded out her resumé working for numerous departments within the College and as Services Coordinator for the BC Federation of Students. She is currently the Director of College Relations for the Douglas Students’ Union (DSU), a student representative on the Douglas College Board of Directors, has worked for Aboriginal Student Services and was a Student Ambassador – a fairly robust c.v. for a college student.

By being involved in so many areas of Douglas College, Telka has had the opportunity to strengthen her connection with the faculty in a way that isn’t possible with classroom interactions alone. Working for the DSU, as well as her other opportunities to work side-by-side with faculty and staff have been invaluable.

“Being a part of the conversation, offering my perspective as a student and seeing how decisions are made,” Telka says, “helped shape my own decision making process.”

And, when she isn’t advocating for students, you’ll most likely find Telka hunting for hidden gems. “My main hobby is thrifting,” she admits. “The only thing not thrifted in the photo is my jeans!”

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