The Mentorship Spot
Accepting Your Offer to McMaster Health Sci
Updated: Jul 28, 2020
Written By Karen Jiang
You got accepted to McMaster Health Science — now what? If you’re anything like me — although hopefully you’re not — you applied to Health Science on a whim and expected nothing of it after pressing submit. I didn’t do my research beforehand and honestly knew nothing about the program — I definitely would not recommend this!
After getting accepted to the program I figured it was time to do my research on it, learn about what made it so “prestigious” and visit the campus. May @ Mac was the first time I stepped foot on McMaster campus but I didn’t get that “gut feeling” I had hoped for and that some people talk about when they visit their prospective school. I listened to some presentations, talked to upper years and academic advisors, and learned about inquiry and the group projects. To be honest, I got really worried after hearing about Health Science’ teaching style. I thought I would thrive more, and be more comfortable, in a traditional learning environment; listening to lectures, studying for midterms and reading textbooks. But, I also knew that I couldn’t stay in my comfort zone forever. McMaster’s teaching style is all about developing soft skills; communication, collaboration and problem solving, among others. Many, or all, of these skills I knew needed improvement and would be essential for my future. I figured it would be better to step out of my comfort zone and develop these skills now rather than later.
I messaged several upper years before making my decision. I told them about my concerns with the program and they reassured me that my take on inquiry was way different than what it actually is. If I could give one piece of advice it would be to talk to upper years about their experiences because you’ll get to hear personal stories and gain different perspectives on the courses and the program. Just find any upper year in your group chat or page and shoot them a message. So, now I’m paying it forward and letting you know (a bit) more about inquiry. I like to think of it as a personal growth course. Whatever you feel you need improvement on is whatever you can mold the class into and work on. You get so many opportunities to improve and a great group of classmates and facilitators to support you. If you don’t feel comfortable doing something, you don’t have to do it. But at the same time, the class is such a tight-knit and comfortable environment that it’s a great place to try something you’ve been afraid of. Because of it’s ambiguity, inquiry is amazing because you can really make it into whatever you want and get whatever you want out of it — so you’ll love it!
Another thing I personally was concerned with was all the group projects. I can now say that group projects in university are quite different than in high school. Everyone in the program is really hard-working and has a similar mindset as you. You get to work with your group for an entire term, or even year, so your group dynamics grow to be really strong once you get to know your classmates and their strengths. Because everyone has high expectations and is striving for the same thing, it’s really inspiring and motivating to work in these groups and you’ll realize that the product you deliver is really a great collaboration of everyone’s ideas and contributions.
The aspects of the program that I was hesitant about are some of the most unique qualities of the program and are also now the ones that I appreciate the most. That being said, there’s no doubt that the learning style of Health Science is strange. Sitting in a circle during inquiry, ordering pizza for 3 hours instead of taking notes during a typical lecture is a weird concept to get used to. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and like me, it may not be something you’re comfortable with. So, it’s important not to get swayed solely by the prestige of the program. If you don’t think you’ll enjoy or thrive in it, that’s fine! If you think you’ll love it, that’s great! If you’re like me and think it’ll be beneficial for you, even if you aren’t the most comfortable with it, then give it a try!
No matter where you end up, you’ll get great things out of the experience, learn a lot and have an amazing time. It really isn’t about what school you go to, it’s about what you do when you get there. So, maybe Health Science is for you, maybe it’s not. Stick with your gut when making your decision and you can really do no harm. Good luck!
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