For a Political Science Student at McMaster...
What extracurriculars did you do in high school?
One extracurricular that was most special to me was joining Link Crew in my last two years of high school. Link Crew is a club that trains a small group of selected students to provide the orientation to welcome freshmen into their first year of high school. I
was first accepted into the club as a shy student. I was excited to gain confidence in everything from speaking to self-expression, while also helping students transition into high school. Over time, I learned how to be more confident. This not only helped me personally, but helped my marks when it came to presentations, answering questions in class, and having more confidence in going up to a teacher/professor to ask questions. Another extracurricular was volunteering at my local community center to provide free food for anyone in need every week. I had to communicate thoroughly with everyone on my volunteering team to make sure that we received the food at the right time, and distributed everything evenly. This even landed me a job offer, which I was extremely grateful for.
Do you feel there’s a good support/transition program for freshman students at Mac?
If you’re applying to a Social Science program like Political Science, there are courses under the course code SOCSCI that ease the transition from high school to university. I took a course called Life, The University, and Everything (SOCSCI 1T03), which helped me with writing better essays, using academic resources properly, citing sources depending on what the professor asks for, and learning how to use our university libraries more efficiently. I believe that after taking that class I’m much more confident in navigating through my undergrad knowing I have a good amount
Why did you choose your program? What makes it unique to you?
I spent the majority of my high school aiming to major in astronomy, a subject completely different from what I major in now. I took classes in the sciences and paid little attention to any form of writing. When I reached my junior year of high
school, I took a law course for the first time and found a whole new passion I could pursue. I decided to aim for more social science courses for the entirety of my senior year. I was worried that it may have been a sudden change and would not only affect my marks but my university applications, but every university I applied for was okay with the sudden transition and only focused on my
grade 12 marks. During my senior year, I looked through McMaster’s website and found that I was able to focus on more than one of my newly-found interests, political science and law. I decided that if I want to pursue law school in the future, familiarizing myself with law throughout my undergrad would be a good starting point. I loved the law classes in high school and wanted to continue taking similar classes. I’ve really enjoyed the two political science classes I took during first year, which only makes me even more excited to see what my program has to offer.
What is some advice you would give high school students when applying to your program?
If you’re preparing yourself for your final year of high school, make sure to take courses that not only interest you but are also in the field of social sciences. I found that taking courses available to me like law, anthropology, psychology, sociology, English/writing courses during high school helped me strengthen my writing skills and prepared me for a lot of typing, reading, and writing to come during your first year. I also recommend doing extracurriculars related to politics and law, such as joining mock trial teams and participating in Model United Nations (MUN). We have clubs and teams related to both mock trial and MUN at McMaster that are also just as fun!
How would you describe the workload and work-life balance?
In terms of my work-life balance, I was accepted for my first job during August before the start of my first year of university in September. I had to deal with my first-ever experience in the workplace while also transitioning from high school to university. I found that tackling a job and being in a Social Science program pursuing Political Science was not as challenging as I thought it would be. Aiming to be in Political Science meant that I had to meet set criteria with my grades in only two of my ten courses, so it wasn’t too hard. In terms of the workload, it all depends on what you take in your first year. I focused mainly on my two required courses for acceptance into my program in second year, while the rest of my courses involved topics I’ve always enjoyed throughout my academic life. I took classes involving ancient history, psychology, sociology, and even wanted to take an astronomy course. I made sure to take things I knew I would enjoy because I’m confident in the saying that if you’re passionate about something, you’ll do whatever it takes to do well, because it’s an enjoyment and it doesn’t even feel like a tiring task to do.
of knowledge on writing. It was also a very fun class, and extremely easy to get a good mark on! As a first-year student, you will be a part of the general Social Sciences program (with a few exceptions), this means that you’ll be able to take a wide range of courses within the social sciences that help you explore more than what you applied for in the first place. I found that many of my friends ended up liking a program option different than what they had originally applied for, thanks to the many options offered within the Social Sciences.
A very special thank you to our interviewee...
Hi everyone, I’m Tuqa, a second-year student at McMaster University majoring in Honours Political Science with a specialization in Public Law and Judicial Studies. I am currently a part of our faculty rep team focusing on welcoming first-years into McMaster, and making sure all first-year social science students have a very enjoyable year! If you have any questions about my program, the university and its services, commuting, or anything else, feel free to connect with me through Instagram!