Bounce at McMaster podcast celebrates the resiliency found through failure

The Bounce at McMaster podcast features the real-life stories of faculty and alumni who share how their struggles during their student years helped them develop resiliency.

“As students, in addition to the knowledge and skills we gain in university, we learn about ourselves and how to make our way through the world,” says Catharine Munn, associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences.

“We go on an emotional and social journey, not just an academic one.”

And it is that journey that Munn wants to take listeners on in the Bounce at McMaster podcast.

Bounce at McMaster looks at the rarely-highlighted bumps along the road — the failures, rejections and struggles that mark everyone’s academic journey.

It’s an exploration of loss, grief, challenging transitions and mental health struggles, but also a celebration of the resiliency and growth that comes with these changes.

They are real stories told by McMaster faculty and alumni about their experiences as students.

The podcast series, led by Munn and a team of McMaster faculty, students and staff, is funded by the Okanagan Special Project Fund — an initiative aimed at increasing dialogue around health and well-being.

Bounce at McMaster was inspired by the original Bounce project at the University of Victoria, created by McMaster alumni Rebecca Gagan, who is an assistant teaching professor in UVic’s Department of English.

Gagan created the podcast to normalize and destigmatize discussions about failure and challenges encountered during the university experience.

Zeinab Khawaja, a health promoter at Mac’s Student Wellness Centre, shared her university experience during the first episode of Bounce at McMaster.

The bachelor of health sciences graduate had a wedding for her arranged marriage just days before Welcome Week — something she was hesitant to share with newfound university friends.

“Knowing that someone else has been through similar things or felt similar feelings can make you feel seen and less alone. Everyone deserves that,” says Khawaja.

“I wanted to do this podcast because when I am vulnerable and brave, it gives others permission to be vulnerable and brave. I hope my story makes someone feel seen and less alone.”

You can listen to Khawaja’s story here:

New episodes of Bounce at McMaster are released every Thursday and are available anywhere you listen to your podcasts.

For more information about the podcast, please check out their website or follow them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. You can reach them through email at

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