Grad Para Babuharan on Finding His Community

Para Babuharan is among those who will cross the stage to receive their diplomas on Thursday, June 13. For him, convocation is the final celebration of his undergraduate career. “It feels like it’s finally time to celebrate that I’ve completed all my coursework and reflect on all that I’ve achieved,” he says.

Para Babuharan
Para Babuharan

For Para, convocation isn’t goodbye to St. Mike’s. Having earned his Bachelor of Arts with a specialist in Mediaeval Studies and minors in philosophy and political science, he will be returning to the University of Toronto in the fall for graduate studies at the Centre for Medieval Studies.

“As a humanities student, I saw my undergraduate degree as a chance to explore liberal arts like philosophy, history, and social sciences. Based on my interests and wanting to know more about culture, I chose what I thought I wanted to learn and that led me down other avenues that I hadn’t thought of at first,” he says.

He initially chose St. Mike’s because of the natural fit with his program —Mediaeval Studies is one of the St. Michael’s sponsored programs offered at the University of Toronto —and because it was the Catholic college on campus.

When he was in the middle of completing his degree, he realized that his community drew from St. Mike’s. “In my first year I had taken courses all over campus, but later my community really came from this college,” he says.

In addition to campus liturgies and socials, it was the Gilson/Junior Fellows Book Club, associated with the Christianity & Culture program, where he felt he truly belonged and thrived. “The book club was a constant presence throughout undergrad. We read lots of books and had many interesting discussions that went on for hours, late into the night,” he says.

Through his involvement with the book club, he was asked to be an editor for Saeculum, a student journal for the Christianity & Culture program. In his final year, he was the faith editor for The Mike, St. Michael’s undergraduate newspaper. “St. Mike’s gave me my first entry into publishing my own work. It took a lot of me pushing myself to do it, but there were ideas I really did want to put on paper and have published. In the end, I wrote four articles and received a lot of good feedback, particularly for my reflection on Lent,” he says.

This past spring, he participated in St. Michael’s Research Colloquium. “I was interested in the conference theme of ‘Labour, Leisure, and the Good Life,’ and I wanted to contribute a paper that came out of my own interest rather than a course assignment,” he says. He found the experience rewarding on many levels. “It was an enjoyable experience to present my own writing and receive feedback from faculty, as well as to hear other presenters and engage with them,” he says.

Para outlines some of the benefits that came with the niche nature of his St. Mike’s courses. Not only were the professors knowledgeable and passionate about the courses they taught, but the small class sizes lent themselves to being taught in a seminar-style like at the graduate level. “The professors were interested in hearing from the students and there was an openness to go where the students wanted to go,” he says. These courses awakened new paths of research that he is looking forward to exploring at the graduate level.

More Convocation 2024:

Grad Vanessa Choi on Paying it Forward 

St. Mike’s Student Dacian Dawes on Finding her Place

Grad Patrick Elo on Crossing the Finish Line

Grad Caroline McQuade on the Value of Mentors

Grad Patrick Policicchio on Research, Connection and Belonging

Grad Anita Rajkumar on Giving Back to her Community