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Kristy Melo, Hons. B.A. Health Studies and Gerontology '21

Meet Kristy Melo, Honours Bachelor of Arts Health Studies and Gerontology '21.

On top of her stellar academic record, Kristy also found time to mentor and support other students during her time with HASSA. Fun fact: Kristy started off in the Faculty of Humanities before transferring to the Faculty of Social Sciences. Learn about her road to convocation!

Jun 18, 2021

 

"I started off open-ended I did not really know what I was going to do, but I found myself along the way."

 

How has the time at McMaster changed you? 

When I came to McMaster, I was enrolled in the Faculty of Humanities. At the time, I wanted to explore what I enjoyed, and I believed that I would find something that suited me best If I did that, and it worked to my benefit. I eventually ended up in the Department of Health, Aging and Society. When I look back on that time, I was so naïve, and I really did not know what to expect. But I think that situation changed me and helped me to become someone who is a lot more open to taking chances.
 

You have spent a lot of your time at Mac mentoring others. How did you get into that?

In my first year, I found having mentors useful. My mentors were usually final year students who would help show me around campus or were alumni from my department would share their experiences. Whenever I would have an interaction with them, I would always say that mentoring was something that I could really see myself doing. To make the most of my university experience, I wanted to absorb all the opportunities that I could, so I found myself in a lot of mentorship programs. It was nice to help inspire the same passion I have for participating in school activities and for school spirit in other students. That meant so much to me.  

 
What has been your favourite memory of McMaster? 

It is so hard to pick just one! There have been so many favourites in so many ways. I can list my favourite social activities as well as my favourite academic projects that I have been privileged to work on. One thing that really stands out for me was the night event that was held at the end of every year. It was something that my friends and I could attend and truly feel like the year is coming to end. It was such a good way to culminate a year of all that hard work. Of course, there was also my time with the Health, Aging & Society Student Association (HASSA). I was on the association as a marketing coordinator and then I became the Vice-President. That was amazing for me as well because I had spent all this time studying health and aging concepts and then I had the chance to help other students.

 
How did you balance academics with these other activities? 

To create that balance I had to prioritize school. I would pre-plan all my assignments to ensure that nothing could surprise me. Once I organized my assignment schedule, it was easier to balance having a social life and participating in extracurriculars. You do have the time to contribute a lot when you are not rushing and cramming. I found that planning out my activities well really bolstered my university experience. It is also important for you to care about your grades and care about the organizations you are a part of. Once you enjoy what you do, I believe that you are more likely to do well in it.

 

"I cared about all my classes, whether it was a second-year class that I took in my final year or a prerequisite course. I cared about all my classes and wanted to succeed in all of them."

 
How did you cope with the transition to online learning?

I am the second person in my family to graduate from University and it was a huge accomplishment. Honestly, I had been looking forward to my final year and to my convocation since high school. Finding out last year that it would mostly be online was disappointing, but it made me more resilient because I told myself that I am still getting my degree. Nothing must change unless I wanted it to change or make it change. To cope with the transition, I also tried to incorporate activities or things that I enjoyed to de-stress. I would read novels, play an instrument, listen to music and exercise to get myself through the stressful moments.

 

Do you have any advice for your first-year self?

I would tell myself to take the opportunities that come my way and to keep an open mind and always push myself. In my first year I was somewhat apprehensive about joining clubs and societies. Because of that, I waited until my second or third year to participate in a lot of activities because I was nervous, and I was a lot shier than I am today. I would tell myself that University is a great time to put yourself out there. I would also tell myself that I should not be afraid of being great. It is important to not be afraid of being confident or of being successful. If you can learn that at 17 or 18, you will be set up for success for the rest of your life. 
 

What are your plans for after graduation?

Right now, I am debating whether I should continue school or try to get a job in my field. I want to get my Master's in Public Health and I have been accepted to one school and am awaiting a response from another. The pandemic has thrown a wrench in everybody's plans and it has given me an opportunity to examine what is working for me and to decide what would be the best option for me.