By: Sana Mumtaz
If you asked me before 2014 what you would gain from reaching out to the Student Success Centre, I would have naively said “success.” In reality, through the SSC, I got the chance to stumble upon a group of individuals that would go on to impact my future, foster my curiosity and provide an outlet for me to connect with other students and interests yet to be discovered. From 2014–2017, I was fortunate enough to be a part of the Speakeasy program. The program brought together students from diverse backgrounds, different parts of the world and various disciplines. Each week, we met to discuss different topics and learn about varying perspectives, cultures, languages and lifestyles. It was one place where you would find a PhD student in engineering from Egypt carving pumpkins with a first-year Life Science student from Japan!
On a day-to-day basis, the majority of us would be sheltered in our own discipline-specific bubbles, but Speakeasy was one program that shattered these walls. I left this program with a greater understanding of the cultures around me and continue to value the importance of connecting with others on topics outside of academics. The program sparked my interests in communication and linguistics and played a huge role in guiding me down my career path.
As a speech-language pathologist, I continue to actively use the skills I learned during my time with the SSC. This program gave me the building blocks to remember that my patients are unique in their needs and understanding of the world around them. Before getting to the root of their problems, I try to understand who they are, how they live and how they see the world. I always make sure to connect, and I owe this to the inspiring services and individuals at the Student Success Centre.
Sana Mumtaz is a McMaster grad who now works as a speech-language pathologist.