When Saljoq Khurshid was blind-sided with a serious health issue that derailed his schooling for a year, the TRSM community rallied behind him and provided the understanding and support he needed to get back on track and succeed.
In September 2015, the Information Technology Management (ITM) student started experiencing flu-like symptoms, his heart rhythm grew very irregular and he began having severe heart palpitations. As a dedicated student leader focused on his studies and his career though, he decided to ignore these symptoms and push on. When his symptoms worsened, he finally visited his family doctor who told him that he was seriously ill and needed to go to the hospital.
Khurshid had congestive heart failure caused by a heart defect he was born with – there was a hole in his heart the diameter of a loonie. His doctors ordered him to drop out of school and quit his job. “Just like that, my entire life changed,” Khurshid says.
What didn’t change, though, was the support he received from TRSM.
“When I contacted the ITM department to let them know I had to drop out, the support I received was truly overwhelming,” explains Khurshid. “As a co-op student, I was terrified that I would lose my position in the program, but the ITM and Co-op staff told me not to worry and that they would save my spot for me until I recovered.”
Khurshid spent the next five months in the hospital and underwent a number of complicated procedures. His final one was open heart surgery in January 2016, which he says was the most painful experience of his life.
During his time in the hospital, Khurshid’s fellow student group leaders and friends visited him regularly. “I received so much love and support from TRSM that my hospital room was the only one completely flooded with gifts and Get Well cards,” he says. “The TRSM staff would constantly check in on me to see how my recovery was going and always give me positive energy and support.”
When Khurshid was healthy enough to return to school again in September 2016, he says that the TRSM community was incredibly kind and accommodating to help him get back on track. “When I returned to school, the love and support I received from staff, faculty and students were truly overwhelming,” Khurshid explains. “TRSM Facilities, the Student Engagement and Alumni Development (SEAD) Office, the Co-op department and especially the school of ITM were all with me through this journey.”
Since returning to TRSM, Khurshid hasn’t missed a beat and has gotten back to contributing to TRSM students by joining and leading teams, such as serving as the President of the ITM Student Association and the Chairman for the 2019 Connect IT Conference, and becoming a Co-op Mentor. He has also competed in and won several ITM case competitions, and completed co-op placements at Manulife Financial and GS1 Canada.
Today, Khurshid says his that health is “phenomenal.” “Because I was born with the heart condition, they couldn’t fix it 100%, but they were able to repair me to a point that I will hopefully live a long and full life, while being able to do everything I was doing before my symptoms hit.” “As a matter of fact, after my surgery I’m actually even stronger and able to lift more weights in the gym!”
Khurshid points out that his experience was a truly life-changing one and he is thankful to the entire TRSM community who was with him every step of the way. “During one of the lowest points of my life, I couldn’t have been more proud and privileged to be a student at TRSM,” he says.