Emily’s final homework assignment
Emily Van Berkel and more than 1,500 other students graduate from the Faculty of Science on June 15th. We asked Emily, and 9 other remarkable students, to look back at their time at McMaster and share what they learned, what they’ll miss and who helped them along the way. Here’s Emily’s final homework assignment.
The best advice you got as a student?
People’s actions are often a reflection of their values so getting to know someone’s values can really help you build a successful working relationship or friendship!
The best advice you’d give to a first-year student?
I’d give two pieces of advice. If you think you may be interested in something (research, sports, hobbies, etc)….try it out!! There are so many ways to find your “thing” in university, and you may just meet your best friends along the way. And don’t stress if you don’t find your friends right away. I found my people after coming back from COVID, at the start of my 3rd and 4th years. They’re out there!!
The professor who pushed you the hardest and challenged you to aim higher?
Dr. Krista Madsen
The unsung heroes who went above and beyond for you at McMaster?
Vienna van Veen – from the time I was a Grade 11 student hoping to go to Mac to finishing my 4th year, Vienna was SUCH a great role model and helped me make so many connections in the Mac community.
The one thing you never got around to doing?
Walk around the art museum.
The one thing you’ll miss the most about McMaster?
It sounds cheesy, but the people. I feel so lucky to have met so many AMAZING people and not being in the same city as them will definitely be the thing I miss most.
The most important thing you learned in the classroom?
That “actually, I don’t know” is an excellent answer – just maybe not on an exam.
The most important thing you learned outside the classroom?
Making connections is invaluable. The world really isn’t that big and you never know when a connection you made in your undergrad could catapult you into the next phase of your life.
Your best day as a Mac student?
Being back on campus as a Kinesiology Welcome Week Rep in Fall 2021 and getting to welcome first-year students back to campus. It felt like a big celebration of how far we had come over the pandemic and it was so great to see everyone smiling (under masks at the time lol) and reuniting.
The one thing you know now that I didn’t know on you first day at McMaster?
I still won’t fully feel like an adult when I’m done!!
A moment that mattered for you at Mac?
I couldn’t choose between these two so I included them both: having my professors see me outside of the classroom and know my name and ask how I was doing. And then having my supervisor trust and support me in presenting solo at a conference in another province.
Your experience being a student at Mac during the pandemic?
Hard, but I’m so thankful for how the Kinesiology program supported their students during that time. Especially after speaking with students at other schools, I was extra thankful for opportunities to see my professors and friends, albeit over Zoom.
What’s next for you?
An MSc in Kinesiology at McGill.
Emily’s McMaster highlight reel:
- Member of McMaster’s Varsity Figure Skating Team
- Welcome Week Rep for three years
- Kinesiology Valedictorian