Becoming who I aspired to be
Environment graduand shares her experiences as a Waterloo student
The end of every academic year is an opportunity for students at Waterloo to bid farewell as they move on with optimism to explore life after school. For some, the experiences they had during their program will shape the life they lead after graduation.
For Nashmia Aamir, a student of International Development in the Faculty of Environment graduating with her class in June of 2022, the experience will stay with her for a lifetime.
Aamir accomplished a lot as an undergraduate student at Waterloo. She was the co-president of the Student Association of International Development, vice president of Finance, Environment Ambassador, Environment Orientation team member and much more.
As she graduates from the University of Waterloo, she discusses some of her experiences and passes on some wisdom to current and incoming students.
What is the most influential lesson you learned at the University of Waterloo?
The most influential lesson I have learned at the University of Waterloo is that I am so much more capable than I ever thought I was. As someone who was shy and quiet for most of my life, the University gave me an outlet to truly be myself and be open to all possibilities. There is an opportunity for you to become who you always wanted to be. I learned to experience things that I have always been terrified to do and break the barriers that I have put on myself. Giving yourself a chance is what the University of Waterloo taught me in my 4 years here. The lessons learned here helped me become my best self and the person I always aspired to be.
What was your favourite course during your undergrad?
My favourite course of my undergrad is probably INDEV 387: Global Cities in Global Development, taught by Professor Cameron McCordic. Despite it being taught online, McCordic created such an interactive and informative environment through professional video lectures as well as discussion times called “Coffee with Prof. Cam”. It solidified connections with other students and encouraged discussions about the challenges faced due to urban development in a casual but interesting manner. This course made me fall in love with learning about these challenges that led me to focus my 4th year Honours International Development Thesis around urban development and women's rights in my hometown of Karachi, with Prof. McCordic as my thesis advisor.
Do you have any advice for incoming undergraduate students?
The advice I would give to the incoming undergraduate students is to not doubt yourself and take on the opportunities that come your way. You will get to meet so many wonderful people who you will eventually get to call your family if you join clubs and societies. It is easy to fall into self-doubt, but I promise you that once you embark on this journey, you will realise it is worth it. I would also like to remind you, that it is going to feel like all the time has flown by but somehow that no time has passed at all. You will look back and see all that you have achieved, all the people you have met, and it will be clear how much you have changed and how far you have come. So do not be afraid to make the most of it.
What are your plans after Waterloo?
I am embarking on my future endeavours. I am currently working with the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA) as the Orientation Programs Assistant due to the love and admiration I have for Orientation Week. I plan on working full time for a while to gain some experience before I set on to start grad school. I hope to do a Master’s in Urban Planning so that I can broaden my knowledge and dig deeper into my undergraduate thesis, Government corruption, water mafia, and informal settlements: A trickle-down effect on women in Orangi Town, Karachi. I hope to be a positive influence on those around me and to inspire those that come after me.
The University of Waterloo acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is co-ordinated within our Office of Indigenous Relations.