Sagrika Mehak, a fourth-year international management major, doesn’t know a word of Polish, but that isn’t stopping her from spending the coming academic term in Poznan, Poland on an international exchange through the Faculty of Management.
Mehak, 21, is also the Canadian representative to the worldwide Miss Tourism Pageant (www.facebook.com/sagrika.misscanadaT) competition in Memphis, TN in 2014.
Mehak has parlayed her interest in pageants into a full-time job of sorts, and has used those experiences to add to her personal development toolkit.
“I am very proud to represent Canada and Lethbridge, and draw attention to our community on a world stage,” says Mehak, adding that participating in pageants while continuing with her education has been tough, but helpful.
"The platform I have chosen to pursue during my term is anti-bullying and self-esteem,” she says. “Bringing this issue forward will hopefully make a difference either for someone who is being bullied or someone who is the bully. I really want to encourage people to embrace each other’s differences.”
Mehak says she was bullied as a teenager.
“Newly moved to Canada, I did not fit in with the stereotypical group of high school students. This led to certain girls acting as bullies toward me, which was very hard to overcome. It made me feel insecure and self-conscious about my appearance and really affected my self-esteem,” she says. “At one point I did not want to go to school anymore.”
A few points of clarity from her mom helped her out, along with a change in attitude and participating in a number of community service activities.
“Basically, my mom said that it is necessary to face your fears and to stand up for yourself. So I did. Standing up for myself and showing everyone that I am not a weak person is what kept the bullies away from me.”
Acknowledging that not everyone has a no-nonsense mom to offer sage advice, Mehak says she wants to take those experiences and talk about them to other young women who might be feeling the same way.
“I am really working hard on being a positive role model, not only to young girls but to everyone who has ever dreamt of becoming a strong and positive human being.”
After graduation in 2014, Mehak plans to pursue a master’s degree and consequently PhD studies in business law. Studying for the LSAT ( Law School Admission Test) is also on her busy agenda.