Thompson Rivers University

Success is just a ‘yes’ away

June 4, 2024

Cali Hutchinson and friend in Thailand.

To many, university evokes thoughts of lecture halls, all-night cram sessions, projects, papers and final exams.

To Thompson Rivers University (TRU) business graduate Cali Hutchinson, university was all of that, and also jet-setting travels and real-life experiences.

Working hard, very hard, to achieve the highest grade point average in her graduating class, was key to Hutchinson’s academic success. However, finding flexibility in her education and having a reliable home base and familial support system meant she could narrate her post-secondary education the way she wanted, creating university years that were more than books and labs.

“I graduated from South Kamloops Secondary School and went straight into the TRU business program,” Hutchinson says. “I knew that I wanted to start university right away, but I also wanted to travel and work.”

Attending TRU and staying close to home in Kamloops allowed Hutchinson to fulfill her desire to learn, work and travel.

“I studied full-time in the fall and winter semesters, then took a month off to travel and worked full-time during the summers,” Hutchinson says. “Since beginning the program, I have managed to visit Peru, Indonesia and Thailand.”

Jump at opportunities

But it was not all play and no work for this Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) student. When she was on-campus full-time, Hutchinson spent almost every weekend and many weeknights at TRU studying.

“I quickly learned that logging that many hours studying alone was a fast-track to burnout,” Hutchinson says. “Eventually, I formed a strong study group that carried through the last few years of my degree. My study group members became some of my closest friends.”

A strong group of peers to learn alongside was just one of the steps to success for Hutchinson. Her personal ethos to say “yes” to opportunities and her inherent desire to challenge herself and step outside her comfort zone — in life and in academics — is ultimately what helped Hutchinson earn the highest grade point average in the last 60 credits of her graduating class. That GPA, in turn, made her the recipient of TRU’s 2024 Bachelor of Business Administration Convocation Medal.

“Through my studies, I had teachers approach me for side projects, conferences and presentations,” Hutchinson says.

“Say yes — these opportunities are vital in building a university network as well as relationships with your professors. Because I was pushing myself, I had an overwhelming sense of accomplishment after every semester, and chasing that feeling is what motivated me the most.”

Still chasing that feeling, Hutchinson plans to push herself in a new area of learning and begin pre-requisite courses for the Chartered Professional Accountant program.

“Taking this next step feels like a natural progression in my education,” Hutchinson says. “It will allow me to acquire new skills while utilizing the knowledge that I gained throughout my undergrad.”

TRU’s Bob Gaglardi School of Business and Economics is proud of the class of 2024 graduates who persevered through turbulent and uncertain times. Congratulations to all those convocating and all TRU Gaglardi medal winners including: Cali Hutchinson, Bachelor of Business Administration; Christof Milando, Bachelor of Commerce; David Tran, Master of Business Administration; Bill Del Rosario, Master of Environmental Economics and Management; and Steven Li, Master of Science in Environmental Economics and Management.

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