Our OC of the Month for February is Canice McElroy(Middlemore, 2015 -16).
Canice is about to begin Medical studies here in Auckland and got in touch with us recently to raise awareness of a new initiative that she has established - the 'Brunch for Better' Campaign.
'Brunch for Better', which launches in February later this month, is a campaign dedicated to raising awareness on eating disorders in New Zealand and calling for improved access to evidence-based treatment. You can find out all you need to know about 'Brunch for Better' at www.brunchforbetter.com
In her OC interview, Canice talks to us about fond memories of King's College and the personal challenges she has overcome to get to where she is today.
Old Collegian of the Month
- When you were at King’s College, what did you want to do for a career after you graduated?
To be quite honest, I had no idea! I took the sciences, art, and English Literature for my CIE A-Levels and maintained an interest in all three. It took me a while before I decided what I wanted to dedicate my career to, and that’s okay. You don’t need to have it all figured out straight away; just focus on pursuing your interests to gain as much experience as possible.
- What is your best memory of your time at King’s College?
It’s so hard to pick a single memory, but I’d probably say that some of the best moments were during my time boarding in Middlemore house, living with all of my closest friends. Or belting out hymns in morning chapel.
- Which staff member do you remember most favourably from King's College and why?
All the incredible members of the art department - Mr Tucker, Mr Foxall, and Dani Harpur. They were always so encouraging and supportive. Entering the art department felt like walking in to such a creative and uplifting space. They treated us with honesty and respect and always had a great sense of humour!
- What advice would you give to your school age self?
It’s so easy to compare yourself to others at that age. Instead of trying to always fit in, I’d tell myself to remain authentic. Focus on becoming the person that you’re most proud of, rather than the person you think other people expect you to be.
- Tell us about yourself now and what you do for a career?
I am at the beginning of a career in Medicine, as I am due to start at medical school in Auckland this February. I am excited to learn more about the profession and to find the specialisation that I’m most interested in.
- What does/did your job involve?
Medical school is going to involve a lot of studying, hard work and practical experience.
As well as beginning my medical degree, I have established the Brunch for Better initiative, which is a national campaign dedicated to raising awareness on eating disorders and advocating for increased mental health support within Aotearoa. I hope that this campaign will help to address the persistent misunderstandings and stigmas within New Zealand that I have experienced first-hand.
- What are the most challenging parts of your job?
The most challenging part of the Brunch for Better initiative has been letting go of the shame I feel regarding my diagnosed eating disorder. There is still so much blame, stigma, and misunderstanding directed towards those with an eating disorder. However, I am choosing to put that fear of judgement aside in order to advocate for change. This campaign indicates that individuals do not need to continue suffering in silence. Brunch for Better encourages schools, companies, families, and friends to host a brunch during Eating Disorder Awareness Week (22-28 Feb) in order to show solidarity for those suffering, as well as to raise funds for EDANZ in order to improve patient outcomes.
- What would you say is your biggest achievement to date?
I am immensely proud of the Brunch for Better initiative, as it has provided a platform through which so many marginalised individuals can have their voice heard and seek comfort in the knowledge that Aotearoa is here to support their mental health.
- What is the single thing that would most improve the quality of your life?
The single thing that would most improve the quality of my life and countless others would be the prioritisation of mental health within New Zealand’s policy and funding. Mental health is only just beginning to enter mainstream discourse, but there is still a long way to go. Brunch for Better is helping to move the conversation in the right direction.
- What are the three objects you would take with you to a desert island?
A Nespresso machine - essential. Also, a pen & notebook, and comfy pj’s.
- How would you like to be remembered?
As someone who was kind, honest, and not afraid to speak up when necessary.
If you know someone that would make a great 'OC of the Month' please get in touch with Nicola Davies, Executive Officer for the KCOCA. email@example.com