Waterloo students know that outstanding classroom experiences are just one part of a transformational education. Co-op, athletics, clubs and volunteer work — not to mention life-changing friendships — all contribute to the learning that empowers our future alumni to make their mark on the world. 

With spring convocation just around the corner, we asked three graduating students to reflect on the insights they gained during their time at Waterloo. Here’s what they had to say.

Emily Pass, Physics and Astronomy


Emily with hard hat on.There is no ultimate finish line, so it’s important that you enjoy the journey. It’s easy to get caught up in the next step: you just need to get through this assignment or this test… you just need to get the interview, and then the job... There is always something new on the horizon, both in university and in life. What Waterloo has taught me is that, as much as you’re working towards the future, you also need to be appreciating the present.


Saad Kalim, Computer Engineering


Saad headshotI think it’s crucial to maintain a work-life balance by making time for the activities we enjoy. The increased workload in university can lead people to give up hobbies that they used to enjoy before. Despite having a passion for photography, I didn’t use my camera until second year, when a co-op term in Vancouver took me to some amazing places to photograph. It helped me realize the importance of making time for hobbies for mental well-being. Since then, I haven’t stopped looking for opportunities to take pictures, whether on study terms or co-ops.

Mountain photo

Photo credit: saadman14


Claire Mackenzie, Recreation and Leisure Studies


Claire headshot.In the beginning, it can be hard to believe in yourself — but once you do, you can do anything you want. One thing I learned being a varsity athlete is that dedication and believing in myself will go a long way. I focused so much in the weight room, in practice, with food, organizing school and my job. I made sure I also did the little things such as stretch every day and see my physiotherapist and acupuncturist. I wanted to win and I believed in myself and the team. We went to final four, which I never expected.