Been there, done that

Illustration of two speech bubbles in conversationWords of wisdom from our alumni

We asked our grads what they would say to students getting ready to walk through the university’s doors for the first time. Here are some of their best tips, experiences and advice.

1. Take note of where you are now. You’ll be impressed with how far you’ll go.

When I look back at the work I did early in my first year, it’s crazy to see how much better it is now—only two years later. There were two paintings I worked on this year where all of a sudden I had this sense of freedom. I was able to let go of everything, not judge myself, get right into it and produce something I’m really proud of. It’s such an incredibly good feeling. —Lindsay Kirker, Fine Art

When I think about my time at MacEwan, I'm most proud of how far I've come. I had no idea what I wanted from my education when I began, but I learned what I was passionate about and became a motivated and focused student. —Sydney Logan, Bachelor of Arts, Sociology

2. Keep an open mind about your future

I changed paths from science to business at the end of my first year. My journey with the School of Business certainly allowed my confidence to bloom. I became passionate about marketing because it's where I found the environment to flourish and to use strategic thinking through creativity. —Rannie Lou Rojas, Bachelor of Commerce

3. Be prepared to learn about yourself

You go into school thinking about all of the things you will learn in your program, but not necessarily the things you will learn about yourself. All of the experiences I’ve had during university have helped me be more confident in myself and in my work. —Casey Pollon, Design Studies

I know it’s cliché, but I think the thing that stands out for me about my time at MacEwan is that I’ve been able to discover myself. I wasted a few years of my life not really taking opportunities and going out and doing things before I came here. This experience helped me come out of my shell completely and gave me the courage to seek out opportunities, like this internship with Hans Zimmer. —Oliver Westalls, Bachelor of Music in Jazz and Contemporary Popular Music

4. Get ready to grow

I wasn’t in the honours program and had always thought of myself as being a fairly mediocre student. I never thought of myself as being “grad school material,” but a couple of years ago I decided to put my mom’s words into action and dream big. Not only have I been accepted to a master's program at the University of Saskatchewan to study applied social psychology, I also earned a dean’s scholarship. I couldn't have done it without the support of my family and the MacEwan community. —Selena Doyle, Bachelor of Arts, Psychology

My time at MacEwan shaped me into a better citizen of my country, a better friend to those I love and someone who reflects deeply upon every decision and its impact. —Hannah Dyckerhoff, Bachelor of Arts, Sociology

5. Keep an open mind

Having the opportunity to do research not only prepared me for the next steps after graduation, but it also allowed me to grow as an individual, expand my knowledge and interact with experts in the field. Participating in chemistry research with Dr. Samuel Mugo was probably one of the most defining moments of my undergraduate program, and ultimately solidified my decision to pursue a graduate program. —Casey Rusin, Bachelor of Science, Physical Sciences

6. You’re not the only one who’s nervous

I remember walking into my first day of university shaking from nerves, and now I’ll be walking the convocation stage with my head held high. It took many days and nights of exhaustion, but in the end it was worth it—I've gained tremendous confidence and perseverance. —Brittany Steeves, Social Work

7. Talk to your profs

Early on, someone told me to make sure to talk with my profs, that they want to help their students succeed. It wasn’t easy, but I did it and honestly, I feel like working on a research project with a faculty member was what made my university experience. Having a faculty mentor gives you a perspective that you sometimes can’t see as easily when you’re focused on midterms and finals. You see the bigger picture and have someone who can support you in that. —Carissa Toop, Bachelor of Arts, Psychology Honours

8. Put yourself out there

I'm most proud of my involvement in the students' association over the last three years, as both an events coordinator and student councillor. Being able to connect and be a voice for students at MacEwan has been incredibly rewarding. —Jessica Meier, Bachelor of Science in Nursing

SAMU has a number of programs in place that benefit the entire student body. One of my favourite activities would have to be “Paws for a Study Break," which does a great job increasing mental health awareness. I've witnessed the benefits of this program first-hand by volunteering for SAMU. When the therapy dogs come into MacEwan, the atmosphere truly changes. —Kassem Eter, Bachelor of Commerce

9. Or really out there

After my third year, I volunteered to work at a poor community hospital in Tanzania, Africa with two other nursing students. We assisted with small traumas, delivery of babies, HIV clinics and more. It was an amazing opportunity. We felt prepared to be able to embark on such a once-in-a-lifetime experience, practicing some of the skills and knowledge that we acquired at MacEwan. —Nelson Garcia Argueta, Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Currently I'm involved in a six-year project to rebuild a medical centre that was destroyed in the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. I'll be teaching and training nurses for this new medical centre as well as assisting in developing health promotion projects for the community. —Cassidy Galan, Bachelor of Science in Nursing

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