From Student to Non-Profit Founder: Gurniwaz’s Success Story

Gurniwaz never thought she could be the type of student that wins scholarships. Learn how she went from thinking student debt was inevitable to founding her own non-profit and winning $40,000 in scholarships.

Blog written by Gurniwaz Gagar

Ever since elementary school, I knew paying for university would be one of the most difficult things that my family and I would face.

I’ve had ambitious dreams and goals for my future ever since I was young. However, along with these goals came a bucket full of expenses. I’ve had a part-time job since I was in Grade 10. Despite this, I still didn’t have much saved up for university. I had little to no knowledge of scholarships at the beginning of Grade 12. I wasn’t even planning on applying to any.

Before GrantMe, I thought that I would have to deal with student debt for the rest of my life. 

I came across GrantMe while searching for how to save money for university. My family and I looked into it for days and chatted with a few GrantMe advisors as well. I was at work on my birthday when I received a call asking if I was interested in a scholarship assessment call. This phone call was the beginning of a tremendous journey for me. 

Not only did GrantMe help me win thousands in scholarships, but they also helped me pursue my visions that I was always too scared to make into reality.

Thanks to GrantMe, I became more involved in school clubs and more authentic with my school work. I also started a non-profit organization called Sunshine Society, which I had been dreaming of for years. 

As a student, I had trouble admitting many of the academic struggles I face. I experienced difficulty learning in school and found it hard to navigate through scholarships.

During GrantMe’s mentorship calls one of my mentors asked me to hold myself accountable for a difficulty I was facing that week. I was able to trust my mentor and tell them the academic struggles I was encountering and the effect it was having on me personally.

By holding me accountable that day, my GrantMe mentor taught me that it is okay to ask for help instead of struggling alone.

Now, I am able to ask others for help when I am struggling. It is better to admit that you need help, both academically and personally, than to struggle and suffer alone. 

I never thought that I could be the type of person who wins scholarships.

I thought that to win scholarships you would have to excel in sports or be an extremely smart person. However, GrantMe made me understand that with a little bit of help, motivation, and hard work, anyone can be the type of person to win scholarships. I am now a more confident individual who isn’t afraid to go out of my comfort zone to apply for scholarships that I once thought I would never win. 

By winning over $40,000 in scholarships, I am now able to experience university without worrying about how I will pay for it.

Instead of spending the majority of my time at a job, I can now spend more time focusing on my studies and participating in school teams and clubs without the tension of finances hovering over me.

GrantMe has given me the opportunity to live for myself instead of working for my student debt.

My future could have been completely different if I didn’t pick up that phone call a year ago. Thank you, GrantMe, for bringing me one step closer to financial freedom. 

I am now going to study Psychology at Kwantlen Polytechnic University before transferring to the University of British Columbia. My plan is to study law at Peter A. Allard School of Law to become a lawyer and give back to my community. 


Gurniwaz Gagar is a 2020 GrantMe Academy program alumnus and a current GrantMe Mentor.

If you want to achieve success like Gurniwaz, GrantMe can help. We provide personalized scholarship matches, essay editing, and mentorship from past winners to maximize your success. Complete our short scholarship eligibility quiz to learn more about how GrantMe can help you achieve your post-secondary goals.

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