Why did you choose to pursue graduate studies at the University of Waterloo?
I've been working in economic development since 2015 and have been supporting small businesses for the past 7 years. I attended the certificate program for economic development back in 2017 offered at the University of Waterloo and fell in love with the program. I decided to do the Master's program because of the connections I would make with my professors along with being able to sharpen my research and writing skills in the field.
Tell us about where you are from:
I was born in Pakistan but came to Canada at the age of 7 back in 1997. In 2008, I started post-secondary studies for the first time by going to Sheridan College to earn my diploma in Finance. Since then, I went on to complete a degree at the University of Guelph-Humber in business administration.
What is the best part about being a grad student?
The students you meet in class along with the professors. It's been such a great experience to be back in a room full of eager students who are tackling the same challenge as you. Being in the workforce for nearly 6 years before going back to school, I had forgotten how great it felt to be in a classroom environment learning with my peers.
How do you spend your free time?
In my free time, I am generally connecting with individuals who want mentorship/support. I've been mentoring students and adults for a very long time. It's something I'm passionate about and it's something I love doing in my free time.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
Master's is very challenging. You will need to focus your energy on getting things done quickly, otherwise, you will really struggle. One thing that has worked for me is doing assignments way in advance to avoid any burnout.
What advice do you have on achieving work/life balance?
To have a work-life balance, you need to get assignments done far in advance. Aim for perfection, but don't make it your standard. Your focus should be to get through grad school by giving it your all. However, don't burden yourself if your assignment doesn't look perfect. Finish it to the best of your ability and move on to the next.
What are your plans once you finish your education?
I am already teaching at the University of Guelph-Humber and I am completing my Master's so I can continue to do sessional lectures. I am also looking for career progression and doing a Master's in my field is something that will really help elevate my credentials.
What are some of the challenging aspects of being a graduate student and how do you address these challenges?
Challenges are a part of life. Doing a Master's is no different. It's an obstacle that you have to overcome if you want to elevate your ability to read, write, and build your critical thinking. Go into your Master's with an open mind on learning, only then will you see it as an opportunity and not just a challenge.
Do you have anything else you’d like to share that is interesting about yourself?
An interesting fact about me is that I love to continually educate myself. Learning is a life long journey, and I never see an end goal in sight. Every time I feel I've reached my peak, I find ways to learn and look for more opportunities to improve. Life won't stop for you, so take it as it comes and capitalize on all of the opportunities in front of you.
Country of origin: Canada
Domestic or International: Domestic
Academic stream: Non-Research
Full-time or part-time: Part-time