In conversation with Rose-Marie Séguin, valedictorian for the Health Sciences ‘B’ ceremony

"These are your golden years, a time to build friendships, explore interests and discover who you are. Make the most of the incredible opportunities this vibrant community offers"

In this special series of Q&As, McGill’s 2024 valedictorians share their insights and perspectives as they reflect on their academic journeys and look back at the moments that defined their time at McGill, from navigating the challenges of entering McGill during the COVID pandemic to finding and fostering a sense of community.

Today, we feature Rose-Marie Séguin, valedictorian for the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Séguin, who has earned a Bachelor of Nursing – Integrated, delivers her address at the Health Sciences ‘B’ ceremony on Tuesday, May 28, at 3 p.m.

Please note, the answers may have been edited for brevity.

What was your impression walking onto campus for the first time?

Prior to McGill, my academic journey was far from linear; I had to overcome several obstacles. Setting foot on campus for the first time was a bit of a “pinch me” moment. I realized how much I had accomplished to get here.

What are some of the highlights of your time as a McGill student?

My university experience was enriched by the vibrant social life on campus. Some standout moments include participating in Open Air Pub, co-ordinating Science Games and taking part in frosh week.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced while at McGill?

I loved getting involved in activities, which led me to take on too much at once.

I learned from my mistakes and managed to strike a delicate – and healthy – balance among my studies, extracurricular activities and working as an ICU nurse throughout university. The secret is realizing that personal growth and achievement can coexist in a healthy way, so long as you listen to your body and learn to say No.

What’s next for you, both short and long term?

I will continue to work as an ICU nurse before returning to school for graduate studies. My interests span hematology-oncology, palliative care and stem cell research. I haven’t yet decided where to specialize.

Where I’ll find myself in five years is hard to predict, but I’m confident I will find happiness and satisfaction in my chosen career path.

How has McGill helped prepare you for the next chapter in your life?

McGill has provided me with an opportunity to delve into holistic community care, enhancing my community-health skills. Engaging with members of diverse communities has taught me the nuances of empathy and cultural sensitivity, and brought home the importance of addressing health disparities.

My desire to break down barriers to accessible health care for those whose voices cannot be heard blossomed significantly during my undergraduate years. I plan to carry this aspiration into my professional career and my studies as a graduate student.

Overall, my experience at McGill has provided me with a solid foundation; it has given me a toolbox of skills I can use to advance positive societal change.

Who or what will you miss most?

Graduating from McGill is bittersweet. While I anticipate continued camaraderie with my nursing peers in the professional realm, there are also friendships I’ve cultivated with students from other programs via committees that hold a particularly special place in my heart.

As we embark on diverse career paths, some continuing their academic journeys while I transition to full-time work, I recognize the inevitable separation of our paths. I will miss them dearly and I wish them boundless success in their future endeavours.

What advice do you have for students new to McGill?

University is a whirlwind of new experiences, and the time flies by. Don’t miss out. Dive in headfirst. Get involved in clubs, attend events and strike up conversations with your classmates. These are your golden years, a time to build friendships, explore interests and discover who you are. Make the most of the incredible opportunities this vibrant community offers. You won’t regret it.

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