Graduating is “most satisfying feeling” for high school dropout who became A student

Kris Hansen has overcome many obstacles to become an A student. (Toni Baggos Photo)

For a high school dropout eventually who made it to university only to struggle again, graduation never seemed likely for Kris Hansen.

Despite his previous struggles, Hansen will graduate at the June 5 convocation ceremony as an A student, receiving an honours degree in integrated science. He has also been accepted into a master’s program at Carleton.

“Grade 9 was pretty normal but when I got to Grade 10 things pretty much fell apart,” he says. “My parents got divorced and I dropped out.”

He studied in an alternate education program for two years before deciding he needed to return to Earl of March Secondary School in Kanata.

In 2004, he managed to graduate and got accepted into Carleton as a special student. He finished five credits, barely passing some, before finding his way into the chemistry program in the fall 2007 semester.

But Hansen dropped out before the winter semester started.

It took a year of doing manual labour for a Stittsville company before he realized it would be impossible to support himself without a university degree, he says.

“You can manage to pay the bills but that’s pretty much it and that’s what you’ll be doing for the next 30 to 40 years,” he says.

“I already had credits in the bag and it was something I couldn’t leave behind. I could never let that haunt me for the rest of my life.”

Hansen wanted to take accounting classes, which meant retaking courses from his first venture at the university, he says. One was a math class which he got a D in the first time around. The result dramatically changed the second time.

“I ended with an A-plus. That was the best feeling ever. It was contagious. I wanted more of it,” he says, unable to contain his smile.

That new feeling led Hansen back to the science department, picking up minors in business and psychology along the way.

For his honours project he researched ketamine, a drug normally used by doctors as anaesthesia, to treat depression – an illness he’ll also look at when he starts his master’s degree in neuroscience at Carleton in September.

For now though, Hansen says he’s looking forward to getting his degree at convocation.

“It’ll be the most satisfying feeling I’ve ever had in my life.”



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