Convocation 2023: Valedictorians share words of wisdom  

Waist-up posed headshots of Salwa and Taaha with a circular logo that said Convoation at McMaster

Favourite elective? Best Mac memory? We asked Valedictorians from this year’s graduating class in the School of Nursing and the Faculty of Health Sciences to share some of their insights.

We asked Valedictorians from this year’s graduating class in the School of Nursing and the Faculty of Health Sciences to share some of their insights.

Here’s what they said:

On getting through first year

Circular headshot of Taaha HassanLeave your comfort zone! The best thing I did when I got to McMaster was talk to as many people as I could. Whether it was through my lectures, clubs, or anywhere else, everyone is trying to navigate this new environment and looking for people to help them on that journey. You never know what friendships and opportunities can come from a simple conversation!  — Taaha Hassan, Health Sciences valedictorian, Honours Bachelor of Health Sciences 

circular headshot of Salwa SiddiquiAlways live in the present. The years you spend studying and training will fly by faster than you can imagine. There will be times that you may feel uncomfortable or don’t know what you are doing, but that is okay! Take the time to appreciate the present, and remember why you chose this profession to help you at the times you feel defeated. Before you know it, you will be graduating and practising as a nurse!  — Salwa Siddiqui, School of Nursing valedictorian, Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Salwa in her blue scrubs standing in front of the McMaster School of Nursing sign.
Salwa Siddiqui is all smiles in her blue School of Nursing scrubs.
On a McMaster memory

One of my favourite memories from my time at McMaster was Welcome Week. In first year and a new member of the Nursing program, during Welcome Week it quickly became clear to me just how close-knit and supportive the program at McMaster truly is.

Throughout our one-week orientation, I had formed many friendships and connected with mentors who continue to inspire and guide me today. I remember all the Nursing Yellow Suit Reps to be extremely kind, and I had the privilege to give back when I became a Rep in my senior years.  — Salwa

Taaha Hassan in his first year, wearing a jacket, has his arms up in a joking "strong man" pose.
Back in first year, Taaha Hassan struggled with life as a commuting student.
On overcoming challenges

My biggest challenge in first year was making friends as a commuter. There were many days where I felt that I was only coming to school for class and returning home immediately. Compared to people in residence, I thought that I was missing out on valuable time spent with friends and other first years.

I learned that I had to make the most of the time I spent on campus, and since then, I always tried to keep myself busy by getting food with my friends, exercising at the pulse, playing intramural sports, or joining clubs that interested me.  — Taaha

On their favourite elective

My favourite elective I took separate from my degree was Medical Terminology as it taught me so many fancy medical words which came to use during my clinicals!  — Salwa

Salwa Siddiqui is taking the NCLEX test with the goal of becoming an Emergency Room nurse. She graduates Wednesday, May 24.
Taaha Hassan is going on to medical school in the fall. He graduates Thursday, May 25.