Spotlight on UofT Cressy Award Winner: Kaylah Krajnc

In September a brand new set of students will be joining the University of Toronto community. That is cause for celebration! In the next few posts we are going to share the experiences and insights of a few of our graduating students. These students have all been very involved with the University of Toronto and the University has acknowledged their involvement by awarding them with The Cressy Award.

The student experience at the University of Toronto is more than classes and books. It is life on campus, in the community and in the world at large. The Cressy Awards recognize graduating students for outstanding contributions to improving the world around them and inspiring others to do the same.

Please click here to view the 2015 Gordon Cressy Student Leadership Award Recipients.

Incoming students, if you are reading this, welcome to UofT! I encourage to get involved and find your fit here just like these amazing grads did!

Cressy Award Winner: Kaylah Krajnc
Program: Double Major in Conservation Biology and Psychology, and a Minor in Environmental Biology
Involved with: The Centre for Community Partnerships, Hart House, Veg Club, Student Voice Committee, Office of Student Life
College: Woodsworth

We asked Kaylah to share her experience with incoming students. This is what she said:

My university journey started with a whole first year of only focusing on academics… it was quite the dreary existence. Not wanting my entire university experience to be reflected by my coursework and GPA, immediately after my last exam I went to talk to someone at my College about how I could get involved in campus life.

That’s Kaylah in the middle!

This first step sparked a whirlwind of diverse and awesome experiences getting involved in the university; I went from not being involved at all, to being involved way too much, to finally striking a healthy balance between the two. But I loved each step of the journey because it was a continuous self-learning process. My first year taught me that I don’t feel fulfilled learning only in a classroom, my times of being way too involved allowed me to explore different avenues of myself and learn what I was passionate about, and throughout it all I was able to meet amazing people and become a part of some great communities.

In the last couple years of my university journey I committed myself to a few experiences that really aligned with my passions and values. In particular I poured a lot of myself into my roles at the Centre for Community Partnerships (CCP), Hart House, and the Veg Club. And maybe this sounds super corny, but my experiences with these communities really made me who I am today, in a variety of ways.

Through the CCP I grew comfortable with self-reflection, and I discovered that I am really passionate about community-engaged learning and initiatives. Though Hart House, I learned the values of challenging myself to push past my comfort zone to experience self-growth. And with the support of the Veg Club I really developed my passions for animal and environmental activism.

Even though these learning experiences are all different, what’s important is that they shaped me to be the person I am today, and they enhanced the learning experiences I had in the classroom. It allowed me to take the knowledge I was learning through my courses and explore ways to apply it in my future life experiences after university. And the people I’ve met along the way have made these experiences even greater; I’ve gained life-long friends, amazing mentors, and have met just plain cool people that have inspired me simply by living their amazing lives.

These experiences have made me fall in love with UofT, and I’m sad that I’m finished my degree, but at the same time it has given me memories, stories, connections, and self-knowledge that leave me feeling super excited for the next phase of my life. I’m not quite sure what that phase is yet, but I’ve struck a balance between rooting myself in my values and passions, and embracing the unknown so that I can always continue to grow – this, I know, will leave me feeling fulfilled on whatever path I choose to take.


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