Jordan Boroditsky owes much of his intended career path to his Uncle Steven – who had a ready smile, adventurous spirit and all the time in the world for his nephews and nieces. Uncle Steven also fought fiercely against depression.
Boroditsky, from British Columbia, is a new kinesiology graduate in Health Sciences. On June 18, he will join more than 328,000 Western alumni living across 160 countries as a newly minted graduate and member of the Western Class of 2021.
Originally planning to become a physiotherapist, Boroditsky shifted course when a physiology class sparked his interest in medicine. He then began aiming for medical school, with a goal of becoming a psychiatrist, after the death of his uncle in December 2020.
Soon after that – in the middle of his busy final year of school – he launched a podcast focusing on mental health.
“I want to help end the stigma and create a place where everyone can thrive and be equal.
“It’s been a bit of a journey,” he said. “The podcast became a place where I could not only share what I was feeling, but a platform where we could all share and inspire each other.”
Called Own It, the podcast (also findable on Instagram @ownit_podcast) features a range of guests focusing on topics as diverse as body image, addiction, anxiety, destigmatizing autism and supporting a friend with depression. Doctors, athletes, mental-health professionals and students all contribute their expertise to the recordings.
One of the most memorable, to him, is a conversation with a Vancouver man who lived on the street for five years and described the powerlessness of being mentally ill and homeless.
“Each story is different. We need to listen – and we need to listen to each other,” Boroditsky said.
He recorded and uploaded more than a dozen podcasts in six months, while also completing his degree.
“It was busy doing a podcast on top of school. But when you enjoy it, it doesn’t seem so much like work.”
For Boroditsky, getting a complete education also meant embedding himself in non-course work as a volunteer and advocate
He was a member of Western’s Student Emergency Response Team (SERT), a Health Sciences soph and athletic trainer for the men’s lacrosse team.
He was active with the Kinesiology Student Association, where he headed the association’s health and wellness portfolio and developed mental health events, one of which included former NHL player (and now sports broadcaster) Kevin Bieksa.
Having lost two friends to suicide and hearing his uncle’s stories over the years, he realized sometimes the most essential step is to make time for others. “It’s important to give back. There are people who aren’t as fortunate as we are and there are times when we have to step back and see what we’re grateful for.”
He credits his brothers, professors and classmates for helping him become a well-rounded student and person. “I ultimately need to give credit to my parents for always pushing me to do better and do more and give back to the community.”
He is now taking additional science courses to bolster his chances of acceptance into medical school.