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How UofGH reunited two childhood friends

It was thanks to a bit of fortuitous timing that Bhavi Gandhi and Vidita Singh found themselves on the same bus in the spring of 2018. Gandhi, then a first-year UofGH student, was boarding at the Humber College bus terminal. Singh, who had recently received her own admission to UofGH, happened to already be sitting on the bus.

While the two had known each other for a decade, it was that chance bus ride that marked the beginning of their University of Guelph-Humber journey together.

Gandhi and Singh, now fourth-year students in the Community Social Services program, met in elementary school, their first-grade classrooms across the hall from each other. They bonded throughout childhood, from playing house to belting out pop songs and, in grade 8, solidified their friendship by empowering each other after their first heartbreaks.

The two ended up going to different high schools. Though they didn’t see each other often, they remained connected through social media.

“Even throughout high school, there was this bond where she could come to me with whatever was going on and I could go to her with whatever was going on. She felt like my safe space,” Gandhi said.

“We always talked about our future goals,” she added. “I knew she wanted to be a lawyer. I wanted to go into business. But then things changed. Life gives you the unexpected.”

Photo of Vidita Singh Photo courtesy of Vidita Singh

I believe in platonic soulmates, so not just in a romantic sense but having someone that was meant to be in your life...


A surprising reunion

After high school, Singh completed a year in a paralegal college program but realized it wasn’t the right fit. Knowing she wanted to pursue a university education but still have hands-on experience, she applied to the University of Guelph-Humber.

Soon after Singh received an offer of admission from UofGH, she ran into Gandhi on the bus. It was the first time they had seen each other since Gandhi’s 16th birthday and only the second time in years they had seen each other in person. The two immediately started catching up.

Singh explained that she was about to switch her field of study, mentioning that she was considering the Community Social Services program at UofGH. As it so happened, Gandhi, then a Business student, was about to transfer to the CSS program herself. She began excitedly telling Singh about the program.

“That bus ride was how we reconnected and found out that we would probably be in the same program. From there, our friendship since has grown and evolved so much,” Singh said.

“I believe in platonic soulmates, so not just in a romantic sense but having someone that was meant to be in your life, someone that you were meant to meet,” she added. “That is Bhavi for me. I feel like we're best friend soulmates.”

Photo of Bhavi Ghandi Photo courtesy of Bhavi Gandhi

We're each other's yin and yang. We know how to ground each other, we know how to balance each other...


The perfect complement

One of the first leadership activities Gandhi and Singh did together was volunteer for the CSS Symposium. That sparked their passion for involvement.

Now, they are both START leaders, co-director generals for the CSS Model United Nations delegation, and research assistants for the Soka Education Research Centre on Global Citizenship.

“I think developing a relationship with your school is so important,” Gandhi said. “Being part of START you get to meet so many other students, work with different faculty, help with campus events, and just be part of student life. Running clubs like Model UN is such a cool way to engage students and participate in conferences with other universities all over Canada. Then as a research assistant you get to learn the research and academia side of things.”

The two have found their personalities complement each other well in school, work and life.

“I think we're opposite in a lot of ways, but we mirror each other. I see potential in Bhavi that she doesn't see in herself, and she sees the potential that I have,” Singh said. “It also shows up in our leadership styles with Model UN. It works really well because our members feel appreciated, but we also get things done.”

“We're each other's yin and yang,” Gandhi added. “We know how to ground each other, we know how to balance each other, and we can be so different but so alike at the same time.”

As the two wrap up their final semester, both reflect on how much they have grown during their time at UofGH.

“There has been so much that has happened during my time at Guelph-Humber, but it was all worth it because the person I started off as here is not the person that I'm leaving as,” Gandhi said. “I'm so happy to see everything that I've been through, the good and the bad, and I have friendships like Vidita to thank for helping me get through it.”

“If I could sum it up in one word, I would say my time here has been evolutionary,” said Singh. “I think we've been able to see growth in each other as well, which is another part of what makes our friendship so special.”

“It's one thing that's already precious to say that this program has changed me for the better and allowed me to become the person that I've always wanted to be,” she added, “but it's another thing to have your best friend also witness that and experience it with you.”