Meet Faculty of Social Sciences valedictorian Chloe Valentine

Chloe Valentine smiling at the camera. Behind her is the London Bridge.

Chloe Valentine will deliver the valedictory address at the Faculty of Social Sciences Convocation ceremony on June 12.

Faculty of Social Sciences valedictorian Chloe Valentine graduates June 12 with a political science degree with a specialization in public law and judicial studies.   

We asked the McMaster graduate a few questions to get to know her ahead of her valedictory address. 

How has McMaster shaped the person you are today? 

I think McMaster has so profoundly shaped me into the person I am today because I truly cannot imagine who or where I would be without it. I have been presented with so many opportunities at McMaster both academic and non-academic that have allowed me to grow my confidence, learn both academic and life lessons, and make incredible new friends. Professors have taught me how to think critically, problem-solve, and strive for excellence in my studies. However, some of the most important lessons that have shaped me into who I am do not come from academics. Throughout my time at McMaster, I was shown what forming new friendships looks like, how much effort needs to be put into taking care of yourself and your own needs, and the importance of having new experiences. University has shown me that there is much more to life than academics alone. Being a McMaster student has taught me the importance of self-care and truly doing things you love. 

What’s a great piece of advice you’ve been given that you think other students could benefit from?  

This journey is not linear! I think there is so much pressure to complete your degree in four years and start more school or an excellent job immediately after graduating, but that is not often possible. In first year, everything seems so daunting and there is so much pressure to be perfect. But I would say there is no such thing as “perfection”.

Taking a semester off from school to focus on your mental health, or taking a reduced courseload so that you can also work at the same time as going to school is not “imperfect” whatsoever. Being able to make adjustments to school or other aspects of your life in order to improve your mental, financial, or physical well-being is so incredibly brave.

McMaster will always be here to support its students in doing what is best for themselves. There are services and supports that the university provides to help people who are in similar situations, and there is absolutely no shame in your university journey not looking stereotypical. 

Tell us about a favourite memory during your time at McMaster.   

There are so many amazing memories that I have had at McMaster it is so difficult to pick just one. I think winning Faculty Cup during Welcome Week when I was a rep embodies many of my favourite elements of my time at McMaster into one. It truly showed how wonderful Social Sciences is, I am so incredibly proud to be in a faculty that not only has such amazing students academically, but shows such support and passion for ensuring they enjoy their time socially. Winning Faculty Cup to me demonstrated how hard volunteers, staff and faculty work to make the Social Sciences experience enjoyable for all. It also was a memory made surrounded by some of the most amazing friends I have had the pleasure of making. Starting school online in 2020, one of my biggest fears was that I would be this lonely throughout my whole degree. I was so happy to be proven wrong in a full circle moment cheering with my university friends. The excitement in winning something that meant so much to each individual Social Sciences student was something I hope to never forget. Honestly, it showed how much work every faculty puts into ensuring their students have an amazing start to their degrees and made me feel so proud to be a McMaster student. 

How do you think it is going to feel crossing the convocation stage?  

My guess is that as soon as I walk off that stage I am going to want to turn right around and do it again. Similar to all the exciting things in life like roller coasters and birthday parties or vacations, as soon as it is over you want to relive it. I hope that I can be present enough to soak in all of my surroundings and feelings during my minute crossing the graduation stage. If that moment is anything like a roller coaster, I think it will feel exciting and a tad scary at the same time, maybe even thinking of the unexpected twists and turns that lie ahead. 

What do you plan to do/see yourself doing in the future?   

I am grateful to be attending Western Law School in the fall to pursue my law degree. What I hope to get out of a legal career is becoming the best advocate I can be using a legal skillset, however that may look. Advocacy could be something large like working toward human rights goals on an international stage but can also be small like ensuring that individuals’ estates are divided according to their wishes once they pass. No matter what form my advocacy takes in my career, I hope that I can help people navigate a complex field so they can better achieve their goals. 

Click here for stories, videos and highlights from Spring 2024 convocation ceremonies and celebration events

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