Written by: Clarissa Huffman
Sociology Level III
When I think back to my very first year at McMaster (longer ago than I’d like to admit!!), the one thing that resonates with me is that I wish I had had a mentor. Someone to guide me through the hard parts, tell me when I’m doing a good job, and give me a few tips to make it all easier. Let me tell you a little bit about myself; I’m back at McMaster for a second degree. Currently, I’m enrolled in Sociology level III, but I’m shadowing the Department of Geography and Environmental Science to change programs at the end of this term. My first degree is in Physical Anthropology and Archaeology. I’ve been very active throughout my undergraduate time at McMaster, volunteering extensively for the Society of Off-Campus Students and the McMaster Anthropology Society. I’ll never forget the day after my convocation. I remember sitting in my room, so proud of myself that I was finally done. I could finally move on to bigger and better things. But then I thought to myself – what does that all mean? Where do I go, and what do I do? How do I get there? What does this piece of paper with a fancy stamp actually mean?
Over the few months following that day, I made a lot of choices. Some of them were hard to make, such as deciding to re-enroll at Mac, and some of them were WAY out of my comfort zone. But every day I know that I’m making the right choice by being here today. The point of this blog is to share those experiences with you. As a partnership with the Experiential Education office, I would like to share with you my involvement and show you all of the amazing things you can do for yourself to enhance your time at McMaster (or any other institution), and really make these years count for you. Some of the things I remember thinking to myself include: how can I engage in the Hamilton community to broaden my undergraduate experiences? What benefit is there to being aware of and involved in matters in my community? How can I use these opportunities to compliment my academics? What opportunities are even available to me?
There’s so much for you to learn, and most of it isn’t actually in the classroom. I’m still learning every day, and I hope you’ll take on this journey with me to learn all of the ways you can become the active, engaged, professional, and ultimately hire-able new graduate that you’ve always wanted to be but didn’t know quite how to get there. If I can leave you with one piece of advice for today, it’s this: take EVERY single opportunity that comes your way. Something new? Great. Out of your comfort zone? Even better. I guarantee you’ll learn something important.