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

When applying to the University of Toronto, Dacian Dawes was unfamiliar with U of T’s college system. She started by researching her options and was initially drawn to St. Michael’s for its Catholic values. Having grown up in a religious family, she thought St. Mike’s would provide a similar structure to her post-secondary education. 

Dacian Dawes
Dacian Dawes

She also talked to people she knew who had attended St. Mike’s and their reviews were all similar. She repeatedly heard that at St. Mike’s, you’re more than just a number. They also mentioned that it’s known for being accepting of everyone and valuing diversity. The more she learned about her college, the surer she felt in her decision. Her arrival on campus reaffirmed that. 

In her first year, courses were a hybrid of online and in person due to the pandemic. During the few times she came to campus she took the time to explore her college and find where she felt comfortable. 

“I loved coming downtown and finding new spots,” she says. Among her favourite spots on campus are the Kelly Library, Mike’s Cafe in Brennan Hall, and the COOP.  

Religious belonging and diversity played a role in the extra-curriculars she’s joined as well. She’s found her place in two student organizations: U of T’s Black Student’s Association and Power to Change (P2C), a Christian student ministry.  As P2C’s prayer coordinator, she helps organize prayer events in the city, and many of the attendees are international students.  

“I really like talking with international students and hearing about their journeys to understand their insights and perspectives,” she says. 

Remembering the joy of discovering her new favourite places, she tries to bring this experience to the events she organizes. “I create events at different places in Toronto so newcomers can get used to exploring the city,” she says. 

As she enters her fourth year, she’s on track to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in political science and critical equity and solidary and a minor in African studies. With the help of St. Michael’s registrar’s office, she’s solidified her plans. “They sat down with me and broke down what was needed for my degree to make sure I’m on the right path to graduate. They really went above and beyond,” she says.  

In advance of graduate school applications this year, she secured a co-op placement over the summer at the Ministry of Transportation, where she works in the policies department reviewing documents to see which policies need to be revised.  

As she prepares for life after graduation, she wants to mirror the values she’s witnessed at St. Mike’s in her life.  

“Being open-minded and welcoming to everyone have become a part of my character and I want to keep these qualities with me,” she says. 

More Convocation 2024:

Grad Para Babuharan on Finding His Community

Grad Vanessa Choi on Paying it Forward 

Grad Patrick Elo on Crossing the Finish Line

Grad Patrick Policicchio on Research, Connection and Belonging

Grad Anita Rajkumar on Giving Back to her Community