Arsh Buttar: Dually Gifted
Arsh Buttar, born and raised in Victoria, BC, is currently in his second year at the University of Victoria. The 18 year old is pursuing his degree in biochemistry and eventually wants to become a neurosurgeon.
“A biochemistry degree would allow me to obtain all the pre-r equisites required to transition into pre-med. The brain has always interested me. I want to learn more about how it works. How people perceive things and how they act upon what they think.”
Arsh also has a keen interest in cancer research. “My grandma had breast cancer and it affected her and the rest of us deeply. So I would also love to contribute that way.” Arsh is keeping his options open. Having graduated from Mount Douglas Secondary School with a 96% average, his grades reflect his intelligence. Arsh had his first year paid for with an entrance scholarships and will be the first in his family to go into the medical field.
Along with school, Arsh has been actively involved in the community. He obtained the “Community Services Award” through his high school and volunteered in the city. He volunteered where help was needed, from various cancer agencies to local hospitals. His most memorable experience was when he volunteered his time for the renal unit at the Royal Jubilee hospital.
“Patients were on dialysis for six hours at a time. They needed someone to talk to and one of my roles was to listen. I remember an elderly man who thought I was his son, or relative. He was very emotional, and talked about how his father was part of the air force in WW2. He didn’t want his father to go, but unfortunately his father was shot in Germany. He talked about how life was back then; how they couldn’t horde food and didn’t have enough to eat. He was always worried about where his dad was.”
When asked whether his volunteer experiences contributed to him pursuing medicine, Arsh responded, “I see the condition that people are in, and feel bad about it. I ask myself what I could do to help these people. People are appreciative when someone helps them.” Arsh also wants to combine traveling with his future plans.
After receiving his medical degree, Arsh plans to volunteer for different hospitals and non profit organizations in various third world countries. “My goal is to travel to all the major countries and set foot on every continent of the world. So far I have been all over Canada, the States, Hong Kong and Beijing for the 2008 Olympics. Beijing was the best trip of my life. Everyday, I met someone from a different part of the world. There were a lot of tourists there, and it was a great atmosphere.”
But medicine is not Arsh’s only passion. “When I was younger, I was chubby. My dad took away my video games and said I had to play outside.” This is when Arsh’s sports journey began.
Arsh has led an active lifestyle and has been involved in sports every since. “Sports are a way for me to express myself.” He has delved himself into basketball, soccer, cricket and baseball and is now focusing on field hockey.
Arsh has been playing in the Provincial Games as part of Team BC for the last 5 years.
He has also played in the Junior National Team, Under 21 Team Canada for field hockey. “Ever since I was small I used to watch older athletes on TV. I watched Kobe Bryant, and was impressed. He was sponsored by Nike and travelled the world. I wanted to be just like him.”
“At times it has been difficult. You have to sacrifice your free time to study. I remember when I had three practices a day for 15 days in a row. The first 12 days was training and the last three days we played the US. So it was basically study, practice, study, practice study, practice. But it was worth it. We won.” This year Arsh has been selected for the Senior National Team. “The coaches watched us play in different tournaments. I was encouraged to go and tryout and was picked from there.”
Arsh follows a consistent routine with four practices a week and working out everyday. “We are always undergoing running or strength tests. So I need to maintain a certain level of fitness by working out everyday. It’s part of the whole process.” Arsh also comes to Vancouver, BC every weekend for training. Were are more resources and facilities in Vancouver for field hockey, as this is where the nationals are based. I meet kids from Ontario and elsewhere, and I am grateful for this opportunity as all my travel and accommodations are covered by Sports Canada.
So is Arsh also an athlete in the making? “I considered becoming an athlete, but it doesn’t pay enough. I would need more support moving on, so it’s not my only focus.” This driven youth attributes his success to his parents. “They have done a lot for me to get to where I am. By myself I wouldn’t have tried as hard, and I wouldn’t be where I am now. It is my duty to do my best.”