Free tuition gives kinesiology student fresh start

Ravenne Rivera

By Ashley Goodfellow Craig, YFile deputy editor

For York University student Ravenne Rivera, starting her first year for the second time has had its advantages.

The undergraduate student, enrolled in the Faculty of Health’s Kinesiology and Health Science program, had embarked on her post-secondary journey in the fall of 2020, but her studies were deferred when she encountered challenges with OSAP funding for the winter term. She worked with the University to sort it out, and her enrolment was deferred to fall of 2021.

Ravenne Rivera
Ravenne Rivera

For Rivera, this meant pursing her first year of studies a second time – but it also allowed her to re-enter York’s First Year for Free Contest, which offers students a chance to win free tuition.

“It was just pure shock,” she said about learning she had won. “It was amazing and it was something I didn’t ever expect.”

The win, she said, gives her financial security and will allow her to focus on her post-secondary studies and her dream of one day working in the medical field. It also boosts her motivation to succeed.

“It definitely motivates me a little bit more. I was already motivated for first year … but knowing that the tuition is free, it is a bit of a relief,” she said, adding that she can put all of her focus on doing well in school. “It means a lot to me, it means a lot to my future.”

Studying at university has been a dream of Rivera’s since she was a young girl. It was a path, she said, she always knew she wanted. Intent on studying kinesiology and with dreams of eventually becoming a surgeon, she said York University was her top choice for post-secondary studies.

“I knew York has a really good kinesiology program – I’ve been reading about it since Grade 9, and it’s always ranked as one of the top programs – so my mind was already set [on York] from the beginning,” she said.

As for her experience at York so far, she said it’s been very positive.

“It’s a gateway to new opportunities and new lessons learned,” she said.