I had a professor last semester who began class with small pieces of life advice. Often times, these would be simple suggestions such as “Learn from your fellow students!” or “Don't be afraid to ask questions or worry about looking stupid”. While all these propositions were valuable, two of his tips really resonated with me.
First, the professor would stress the importance of putting education before marks. When you place your education first, he would say, “the marks will naturally follow”. It is true that grades act as the primary demonstration of one’s grasp of course material, but too often we lose sight of the main reason one attends university (or high school before that, or even elementary school before that) - to learn. When you step back and appreciate the incredible process of finding new answers only to uncover new questions, you open yourself up to a captivating journey, and to becoming inspired by the work of those whose landmark contributions have now become the content of our textbooks.
Second, the professor would often say how important it is to be well-rounded as an engineer. The engineering course-load is certainly busy but keeping up with one’s other interests- whether it be the the arts, reading or sports - is equally important. Having balance in your university life is certainly something I have come to learn this year. Pursuing interests beyond academics is a good change from school work, keeps one energized, and can often be perspective broadening.
So while these might be wise pieces of advice, you might be wondering, what relevance they have to being a Schulich Leader in first year university? Well, I think these two tips embody what it means to be a leader and what it takes to excel in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The world needs people who are not only passionate about what they’re doing, but also have a good understanding of the world in which we live. With both, you are fully equipped to contribute to a better tomorrow. Nearing the completion of my first year of university, I feel like I’ve truly grown as a person - being surrounded by fellow students and teachers at McMaster has been inspirational. I am now, more than ever, motivated to do something meaningful with what I’ve learned and look forward to further developing the skills to be able to do so.