McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Meet the 2018 Faculty of Health Sciences valedictorian

Published: May 28, 2018
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What emoji best represents you? What is your definition of success? Meet Sonia Perez, valedictorian at the May 24 convocation for the Faculty of Health Sciences.

What emoji best represents you? What is your definition of success? Meet Sonia Perez, valedictorian at the May 24 convocation for the Faculty of Health Sciences.

1. Name
Sonia Perez

2. Where is your hometown?
I don't really have one! I was born in Mexico City, and then grew up all over BC and Germany. If I had to choose, "home" to me would be the West Coast.

3. What is the degree and subject you pursued?
Bachelor of Midwifery

4. What made you choose McMaster for your higher education career?
When I was younger I watched a reality TV series on medical training at McMaster and fell in love with it. I applied to the midwifery programs across Canada but my childhood self was pretty pleased to have the opportunity to go to McMaster.

5. What will you be doing after graduation or see yourself doing?
I'll be catching babies and supporting those who are pregnant beginning in July at the Midwives Collective of Toronto!

6. What would you say to your first-year self?
Try not to worry so much, things will come together. Cherish the friends and memories you are about to experience.

7. Do you have any advice for current and future students?
Try to enjoy the moments in front of you when they are happening. We spend a lot of time wishing the semester was going to end soon, or hoping that after that exam things will get easier. Just accept the hard work for what it is, and remember that those key non-school memories slip by quickly. Also, get involved: in committees, in clubs, in fitness classes, whatever. Take a chance to meet new people and find out how you can benefit your community. It often sounds like more work than it actually is, and feels pretty rewarding!

8. How has McMaster shaped the person you are today?
Midwifery is a challenging and beautiful health care profession that requires a lot of patience. Over the last four years, the pregnant clients I've met have taught me how to let go and trust. I feel much more patient and less assumptive than I used to be, not to mention, I've become really good at sleeping on cue, especially after those long 24 hour births!

9. What events did you enjoy the most at McMaster/Hamilton?
I really enjoyed going to see the live music at Supercrawl every year, and the farmers market is a must-do for every student! It's really the only reason I ate vegetables.

10. What is your definition of success?
There are so many definitions. I guess for me, it would be being able to identify what it is that you want to achieve, and overcoming all the fears, reservations, and naysayers that somehow inevitably come alongside any big dream or change in path.

When I'm in my 80s, I'd like to look back and know that all of my key decisions were led, not by fear, but by a gentle and brave kindness that benefited my community.

11. How has McMaster helped you create a brighter world?
For me this came down to individual relationships. The midwifery program has you in clinical practicums for the last 2.5 years of the degree. It's been a privilege to care for pregnant people and their newborns, helping them achieve their goals in whatever shape that might be.

12. What motivates you to work hard?
I work hardest when I know other people can benefit from my work. Whether it's leaving systems in place that will make things easier for the next round of students, or helping a client through breastfeeding challenges after they've had their baby, I work my hardest when there's a barrier I can remove for the sake of others.

13. If you could have any superpower, what would it be? And why?
Definitely teleporting or flying. I like to travel, and that would make it much easier. Plus, I could avoid tiny airplane seats this way.

14. Who is your favourite professor? Why?
In Health Sciences, Dr. Ball was always available to us in the anatomy lab giving us tips and tricks for bell ringers. You can tell he genuinely cares about teaching, because why else would he wear a uterus costume!

In midwifery, there have been so many kind midwives who have paved the way for my learning, but for me, nothing resonated more than a friendly, supportive, and kindhearted reminder from Helen McDonald that, although my worries are sometimes way up in space, reality is down on the ground, and ultimately, things are going to be just fine because I am capable. Thank you Helen, for all you do for students; seriously.

15. What is your best way to de-stress?
Naps. In midwifery, naps are everything. Long phone calls with friends are also very therapeutic.

16. What emoji best represents you?
🍻 – why – flavourful, uplifting, and present in most joyful situations.

Learn more about Spring 2018 convocations here:


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