Julia’s final homework assignment
Julia Azzi is among the more than 1,500 students graduating from the Faculty of Science on June 15th. We asked Julia, and nine 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 Julia’s final homework assignment.
The best advice you got as a student?
Perfection is like zero friction… it doesn’t exist! Knowing that it’s best to strive for pretty darn good 🙂
The best advice you’d give to a first-year student?
It’s totally normal not to know what you want to do as a career or to change your mind several times as you go through undergrad. Be open-minded to new disciplines, and try out new things – I ended up identifying my interests through a co-op job that was very much outside of my field!
The professor who pushed you the hardest and challenged you to aim higher?
My supervisor Dr. Kari Dalnoki-Veress. Kari taught me so much about being a good researcher, communicator, and leader. He encouraged me to present my work at conferences and to trust more in my skills and judgement. I am incredibly grateful for his extensive guidance and support.
The unsung heroes who went above and beyond for you at McMaster?
Sara Cormier. She has supported me in my academic dilemmas, co-op placements, and extracurriculars, and is a huge advocate for student community, outreach, and EDI initiatives. I know that I can always count on her to have my back when I bring concerns/suggestions forward or to provide me with some great advice when I need it.
The one thing you never got around to doing?
Doing another in-person MacDance show. One of my favourite undergraduate memories was performing in the 2020 MacDance showcase – it was so energizing! But with doing an out-of-province co-op position, the timing didn’t work out to join for the 2022-2023 year.
The one thing you’ll miss the most about McMaster?
The science community! Some of my most fulfilling undergraduate experiences have been through involvement with the McMaster Science Society (MSS) and the Department of Physics and Astronomy. I love the rewarding nature of the work I got to do, and the camaraderie in these groups!
The most important thing you learned in the classroom?
That most problems can be solved with a relatively small toolbox. Going back to basics, thinking about the problem, and using what you know can often get you to the answer!
The most important thing you learned outside the classroom?
Prioritizing my mental health improves my physical health and academic performance.
Your best day as a Mac student?
When I helped move in the first-years as a Sciclone during Welcome Week 2019! I have never felt a stronger, more supportive community at McMaster than at Welcome Week 2019 and I’m so glad I got to experience and contribute to it.
The one thing you know now that I didn’t know on my first day at McMaster?
Thode Library becomes absolutely feral during exam season. Have you ever seen people beside you in a library start making guacamole at 2 am or set up a tent in preparation for their all-nighter? This is something only the 2nd floor Thode can offer.
A moment that mattered at Mac?
When the Physics & Astronomy Department met and exceeded the fundraising goal for a scholarship in memory of my late friend Sara Etehadolhagh. I’m really proud that the department will be able to remember her and support other students financially through this award.
What was it like being a student at Mac during the pandemic?
Quite hectic. It was a perfect storm of new class set-ups, social distancing, lowered motivation, and a whole lot of uncertainty. I am so glad (and relieved) that I don’t have to take another online course, but am also grateful to have learned more about my social and academic needs.
Master’s student at UBC for Chemical and Biological Engineering.
Julia’s McMaster highlights reel:
- Schulich Leader Scholar
- Co-op student of the year
- McMaster Science Society VP Academic
- Co-op in Germany
- Presented at conferences