After graduating from high school, Winnipeg’s Caelan Budhoo found himself researching soccer programs across Canada. While checking out universities ranked in the top ten, he reached out to coach Deano Morley to learn more about the CBU Capers. Before long, Caelan was making his way across the country to Cape Breton Island.
“He really sold me, not just on the soccer program but on CBU and Cape Breton in general,” Caelan says of Deano. “I could tell by the way he spoke that he was very passionate about the Island and what it meant to him to be there, and that really resonated with me.”
Now, after adding a U-Sports Championship and countless other Capers wins to his record, Caelan is about to graduate with a Bachelor of Science, Honours in Psychology. “Ever since I was young I was fascinated with psychology,” he explains. “So just getting the chance to be taught by professors who had so much to offer was a really enjoyable experience. Then being able to apply that knowledge in my honours thesis this year was so fulfilling for me.”
Caelan says balancing life as a student-athlete was made possible by supportive coaches, the athletics department and all of his professors who worked hard to accommodate student-athletes. “When the team was travelling my professors were helpful enough to schedule makeup tests and the coaching staff provided us with the resources we needed to succeed in the classroom,” he says. “It was a collective effort that resulted in a positive outcome for everyone.”
While Caelan says it’s impossible to choose just one professor who made an impact on his experience, he wanted to give a special shout out to Dr. Geoff Carre, Assistant Professor of Psychology. “Dr. Carre supervised me throughout my honours thesis and we worked together through this difficult final year,” Caelan says. “He was always supportive and came out to watch our games as well which was very appreciated.”
Reflecting on his career with the Capers, Caelan says two memories top his list. The first of course, was winning the U-Sports Championship with his teammates in 2017 in British Columbia. The second, was what happened when the team arrived back at home. “Coming home to Cape Breton and feeling all of the support from professors, staff, students and community members is just an incredible memory,” he explains. “Walking in the Christmas parade with the U-Sports trophy and having Cape Bretoners congratulate us as we walked by was very special for me because I felt like I contributed something to a place that had accepted me so kindly.”
Although one chapter is closing, Caelan’s academic journey is not ending just yet. He is currently spending a year with the Hearts and Minds Psychology Lab at the University of Manitoba conducting research. The following year, Caelan hopes to pursue clinical psychology in grad school and someday become a clinical psychologist. He is incredibly excited for the opportunity, but says he will miss the connectedness and friendly nature of the CBU community.
“CBU has taught me a lot about the importance of being connected with others and the community,” says Caelan. “Before, I kept to myself a lot, but CBU gave me so many opportunities to be part of things and meet people which has allowed me to really appreciate working collaboratively to achieve common goals.”
Now a proud Caper for life, Calean eagerly shares his positive experience with others considering CBU. “I’ve actually had a few soccer players from Winnipeg approach me to ask about CBU,” he says. “I’ve taken after Deano in that I tend to speak not only about the soccer program but how great the University and the Island really are. One player just enrolled for the 2021/2022 school year so it’s nice to know there will still be some Winnipeg representation out there!”
As Caelan and his fellow graduates take this next step toward their future, he wants everyone to remember how they made it this far. “This might not be the ending we’ve envisioned for so long, but the pandemic doesn’t take away from what we achieved here,” he says. “It gives us a unique story to tell. Congratulations to everyone; I know the amount of work it takes to get here so I hope you’re all really proud of yourselves.”