“Grateful for the opportunity that RRU provided when no others would”

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Brian Dominguez - Doctor of Social Sciences

Dr. Brian Dominguez

Doctor of Social Sciences


“A brief story to highlight my gratitude because I have been carried by many hands, and no one knew.”

When I graduated from the Doctor of Social Sciences program, the whole team of faculty and staff at RRU sent congratulations. I also always felt a lot of support from my committee and confident in their experience and knowledge. I felt grateful, for the constant support, and the opportunity that the University provided when no others would. The programs and flexible entry have been incredible. So, I wanted to share a brief story to highlight my gratitude because I have been carried by so many hands, and no one knew. Let's be honest, you never tell some one who is about to judge your competency that you have brain damage.

In 1992, I was nearly killed while serving in the Canadian Forces as a young infantryman preparing for a possible war in the middle east (1st Gulf War). Badly damaged, by 19 years of age the doctors showed me colored bar and line charts (I had ever seen one before) to explain why I was struggling. The confident and caring experts surrounded me with the evidence. Medical doctors, neurologists, and psychologists, saying “you will never be academically competitive” and “this is your new normal”. In ’92 neuroplasticity was not part of their medical lexicon because it was believed that the brain could not reorganize itself. Consequently, I limped out of high school without being able to accurately remember my name most days and never received any therapy. I was never able to finish a bachelor’s degree despite being stubborn and curious, training my brain through self-study and night courses through the following years, trying to survive high unemployment rates and competition from less experienced university grads.

But then along came my wife Deya and, twenty years later, when she found out about Royal Roads flexible admission, she forced me to apply. Two things were clear to me at that point, I would be passed up for a program or promotion as history had proven to me countless times already and that I had more than just imposter syndrome, I had evidence that is was impossible. I hoped that at least I would earn some sympathy from her if I jumped through a few hoops and was sent away. There was no sympathy.

Royal Roads accepted me into the Master of Arts in Leadership program, then the Doctor of Social Sciences program, and now I am here. So, when I say thank you, I really mean it.

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