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Aiming high to reach for the sky: an account of a Graduate Chemist of the College of Chemical Sciences

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Imagine yourself at crossroads, lost; the future blank before your eyes. Seven years ago, Prasad Sanjeewa was at the same crossroad, unsure on which path he should take. Today he is a well-reputed teaching assistant at the College of Chemical Sciences.

Hailing from Minuwangoda, Prasad was the second in his family, being born to visually impaired parents. His journey has not exactly been a bed of roses. He did his A/Ls a second time while nursing his ailing mother. While juggling a number of odd jobs, which included working as a coach at the Football Federation of Sri Lanka, he realized that there must be more to his life. It was certainly a call of fate, when his cousin encouraged him to join the College of Chemical Sciences. Driven by his passion to study Chemistry, he enrolled for the Graduateship Programme in Chemistry, in November 2014.

Considering his economic situation, Prasad was doubtful on whether he would be able to continue the GIC course. But thanks to the financial support he received from the College, he was able to continue with his studies devoid of any trouble.

Prasad was known to be an exceptionally bright student during his undergraduate years at CCS. He was certainly not the type to be glued to books! Maintaining a fairly good academic record, he juggled studies with extra curricular activities brilliantly. Apart from being a Gavelier, he was a dedicated committee member of the Saukyadana Unit, a passionate footballer, a rugby player and a carrom player. He also served as the Vice President of the Students Association of CCS for the year 2017/18, proving to be a committed and selfless leader.

Prasad has also proven to be a keen researcher, completing his undergraduate research in the area of analytical biochemistry. After graduating with a Second Class (Lower Division), he joined the staff as a teaching assistant, crossing the extra mile to commit himself in teaching his juniors. Being a Graduate Chemist certainly was a major step, but he plans to aim higher by pursuing graduate studies abroad.

When asked about what really kept him going throughout these years, his answer was simple yet inspiring. Prasad was always motivated by his parents who encouraged him to aim higher and higher no matter what. While being backed by an incredibly supportive family, he adds that if not for the guidance and support of the staff and students of CCS, he would not have been able to achieve what he has today. He is grateful for all the support that he received from the Institute in times of crisis. He claims that the friendly and vibrant environment at CCS propelled him to thrive better. For him, joining the College of Chemical Sciences was one of the best choices that he had ever made.

Finally, as a word of advice for his fellow juniors, which included the prospective students, Prasad believes that with confidence, courage and dedication, anyone can achieve anything.

Binelka Siriwardana (Level 4 GIC student)