11 Feb Alumni in Profile: Bilal Khan
What was your involvement with Youth Central?
I was a member of the Mayor’s Youth Council for 4 years (grade 9-12), and co-chair of various committees for the last two.
What did you learn from being a part of Youth Central?
Working with Youth Central was incredibly rewarding in a variety of ways, including being an invaluable learning experience. The team work, leadership and organizational skills I picked up through my time with this group have helped me in all my endeavors since then. Particularly useful were the experiences gained organizing people and resources to pull off events from small community town halls to city wide initiatives. Additionally, Youth Central gave me the opportunity to learn how to work with peers and other members of the community to achieve a common goal.
Working with the Mayor’s Youth Council was an incredibly rewarding experience and one of the highlights of growing up in Calgary, so it’s hard to pick any one favorite experience, but I would have to say the town halls we organized for local elections that aimed to get youth involved in the electoral process was one of my favorite endeavors. These events gave youth the opportunity to share their concerns with elected officials, have their voices heard and show them the importance of getting involved with the electoral process.
What was really neat was, given the opportunity, a large number of youth were more than willing to jump into the process and share their opinions, concerns and ideas. I think these town halls really put to rest the idea that youth have little interest in the electoral process, and, if politicians and other leaders take the time to engage them, young people can be incredibly useful sources of ideas and information.
What have you been up to since Youth Central?
Since I left Youth Central, I’ve basically been in school. I went to McGill for my undergraduate degree, which was an incredible experience in so many ways. I highly recommend, if possible, moving away for university. I learned so much about myself, became far more independent and made friends that I hope to have for the rest of my life.
After university, I shipped down to Johns Hopkins School of Medicine where I am currently a fourth year medical student. Studying medicine has been a whole new adventure, once again learning a ton about myself, my values and my plans for the future.
Would you be willing to have youth from Youth Central who are interested in your field of study contact you if they had more questions about your school, your work, etc…?
I am planning on doing a residency in orthopedics. After that, I’m hoping to go where the wind takes me. I’d like to work abroad, maybe do some missions with MSF if the opportunity arises. I would also ideally like to get involved with health policy and non-profit health care on a more policy level. Of particular interest to me is providing health care in areas stricken by conflicts and natural disaster areas.
I also entertain the though of one day getting involved in the community again through the political process, as I enjoyed my time with Youth Can Vote so much.