It’s hard to imagine a broken leg being a good thing, but that’s exactly how Brandon Katerberg describes a longboarding accident that led him to Okanagan College.
“Breaking my leg was the best thing that ever happened to me. I feel a sense of purpose. I feel that the work I am doing will one day pay off to society in some way,” said Katerberg.
Katerberg described his life prior to the accident as working at a painting shop and living day to day, with little direction for where he wanted to go in life. When he learned that his broken leg would result in a permanent rod inside his left leg, he knew he wouldn’t be able to continue to work physical jobs for the long-term.
This got Katerberg thinking about going back to school and he soon began upgrading at Okanagan College (OC) Penticton campus, with the goal of continuing on to get an arts degree.
Katerberg describes his experience at OC as completely different than high-school.
“Okanagan College changed my perspective on what school was like. I used to hate school but at the college, I felt at home,” said Katerberg, adding there is a mutual respect between professors and students that motivated him to try his best. “It was a pleasant experience coming back.”
Upgrading also launched a new passion for Katerberg; physics and mathematics. In high school, Katerberg rarely showed up to classes and it wasn’t until college that he discovered he was skilled in sciences. Seeing this potential, Katerberg quickly changed his focus to science where he is excelling. In his past term, he received a 99 percent grade in calculus, and a 97 percent grade in physics.
“Brandon’s a great success story,” said Ryan Ransom, a professor of physics and astronomy at OC. “He has the aptitude but he doesn’t rely on it, he works really hard and he loves the material. His enthusiasm and curiosity also rubs off on his peers.”
Katerberg’s achievements have also amassed three student awards from the Okanagan College Foundation. Katerberg says these funds have been instrumental in helping pay for his first full semester, where he is taking six courses.
“It feels so great to have some financial relief,” said Katerberg. “It’s also validation of my work, which feels good.I’m a happier, more focused person overall.”
In September, Katerberg is transferring to the University of Victoria where he is hoping to be accepted to their Physics Honours program.
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