Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour at McMaster University
Louisa (Year 4)
What did you wish you knew before going to your university? What made you choose this institution over all others? What are advantages and disadvantages of your institution or campus? List any advice for incoming first-year students about your university.
I wish I knew that there were lots of resources on campus to help me plan my courses and life after graduation. I would’ve been less stressed about it and would’ve been able to save lots of time researching on my own. I chose Mac for its life sci program (I was in life sci in year 1). Mac is known for its amazing research in science and I was interested in that at the time. An advantage of Mac is the upper years are very willing to help you if you need help in anything and the environment is very academically focused. A disadvantage is it’s an old school and Hamilton is not a super safe city. For the incoming first years, my advice is there is no need to stress about course selection or planning for the future because no matter what school you go to there are always resources offered on campus.
What did you wish you knew before choosing your specific program? What are the advantages and disadvantages of your program? List any advice for incoming first-year students about your program of study.
I wish I knew that my program is very research focused and I would’ve connected with my profs if I knew, then I might’ve ended up helping them in the lab and gained that interesting experience. An advantage is the courses are very broad and it covers all aspects of psychology, and the profs are all experts in their fields so you are getting the best education in psych. A disadvantage is as you enter the later years you might be a bit lost because there are fewer required courses and most courses really depend on your interest and your future path. An advice for incoming first years is get to know your professors and TAs, they might offer you lots of resources that you can benefit from.
What was your favourite university experience?
My best experience at university are the experiences that I’ve shared with my friends. No matter if it’s at a party, at the library, at our house, or when we are stressfully cramming for a project late at night, there’s something about sharing that experience together and being able to laugh about it months or years later, that makes me really happy when I think back to it.
What was your least favourite university experience?
My worst uni experience is always during midterm season. I'm always super busy and have lots of things due on the same day or in the same week. I always feel really stressed out, sleep deprived, unmotivated and unprepared no matter how much I studied. Other than that, I can’t think of anything bad that happened to me at university.
What is the hardest part about your program and what were the steps that you took to overcome any difficulties?
The hardest part is the readings, there’s hundreds of pages you need to read for each class and it’s always content heavy, and there’s lots of research papers and essays you need to write based on your courses as well. This means that even though my program is a science program, your writing skills are just important. As the years went on, I learned to start studying or start a project way before the deadline to minimize stress and improve the over quality of my work. As for uncooperative group members, I actually haven’t met many, if some are lazy, I didn’t mind doing more work because it's my mark too so I wanted to make sure I do well, and the projects were always interesting so I didn’t mind.
If you were able to take electives, what was your favourite elective? If you were not able to take electives, what was your favourite course and why?
My favourite course was a course I took in second year called Personality (PSYCH2B03). It teaches you a lot about how people interact with each other, how to maintain a healthy mindset, and how to live a fulfilling life. I loved it because I actually applied it to my own life (not the best thing to do if you are a psych student as we shouldn’t self diagnose). Because of that course, I actually became a more positive person because Psychologist Maslow gave step by step instructions on how to live a better life.
Try to enjoy, and take mental pictures of EVERY moment because uni year goes by so fast.