Meet the Humanities and Arts and Science valedictorian
Never underestimate the power of a liberal arts education, says Suzy Flader, valedictorian at the June 14 convocation for the Faculty of Humanities and the Arts & Science Program.
If you had a superpower, what would it be? What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you? Suzy Flader, valedictorian at the June 14 convocation for the Faculty of Humanities and the Arts & Science Program, answers these and other pressing questions in our Daily News questionnaire:
- Your home town:
Vancouver, British Columbia
- Your degree & subject area:
Honours Arts & Science
- Where are you headed after convocation?
This September I will begin the combined Law and Masters of Public Administration program at the University of Victoria.
- Your best memory of Mac?
This is a very difficult question to answer, because I have so many amazing memories of my time at McMaster. I have made some incredible friends over the years, and so every moment that I have been able to spend with them is what I am going to consider my (massive) best memory.
- The best advice anyone ever gave you?
My mom has always encouraged me to make room in my life for the things that I love, such as theatre, reading, and working out. This advice has always stuck with me, especially as my schedule has gotten busier over the years. It is an important stress-management strategy to be able to take a break from work and other commitments every so often.
- Your biggest accomplishment so far?
This year I served as President of the Society of Arts & Science Students, which was an absolutely incredible privilege! From the election process to the various weekly tasks, the job required a lot of hard work and commitment. But there was never a moment when I was not ecstatic to have the role. Being a part of the Arts & Science community has been my favourite part of being at McMaster, and I am still in denial about having to part from all my amazing classmates.
- If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
I am not sure whether this is a real superpower, but I would love to be able to speak and understand any language on command.
- What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned (so far)?
That no one should ever feel pressured to stick to just one path in life. I came into university knowing that I wanted to go into medicine. When I realized that this was not the right field for me, I felt like a failure for not being able to stick to my original plan. After receiving a lot of encouragement from friends and family, I was able to recognize that I could have a career outside of medicine that would allow me to be fulfilled. I can still help make the world a better place. Now, I am certain that I will have a number of different jobs/careers throughout my life. I never want to get to a place where I feel as though what I am doing is not making any sort of positive impact.
- What do you think the future holds for higher education?
I cannot say for sure what the future holds for higher education, but I do have two main hopes regarding the subject. First, I hope that post-secondary education will continue to become more accessible. There are many qualified individuals across our country who are unable to attend university due to factors such as socio-economic status and mental health issues. It would be wonderful if more measures could be put into place to support those facing barriers to receiving a higher education. Second, I hope that more programs of study will become accepted as “legitimate” by the majority of society. Many people tend to look down upon arts degrees, which I think is very misguided. I think that it is important for students to learn according to our strengths and interests, and that doing so will allow us to be successful. It is a shame when students are deterred from studying the arts due to stigmas.
- While at Mac, did you receive donor-funded financial assistance (e.g., a scholarship, award, bursary)? Any thoughts on the importance of giving back to your alma mater to support future generations?
I have been very fortunate to receive both a McMaster Honour Award and the Bert MacKinnon Memorial Scholarship. I think it is very important for students to have access to such funding. I have a lot of respect for the alumni who continue to fund their alma mater in order to provide more opportunities for current students.
Learn more about Spring 2016 convocations here: http://registrar.mcmaster.ca/grad/convo-dates/