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Arrin Falk-Dotan

Mechanical Engineering, Level IV (St. Catherines, Ontario)

I've been in more clubs/committees than I can count and have been part of a few of their executive teams, each one providing me with useful skills and great memories that I'll cherish for a lifetime.

Favourite McMaster Engineering moment/memory?

My favourite McMaster Engineering memory was pieing my professor in the face in front of my entire class to raise money for a local charity called "Women's Interval House". This was part of culture committee's annual Pi Day fundraiser where we go around to different classes and get pied in the face to raise money.

How have you balanced school life with your extra-curriculars?

School obviously comes first but I've noticed that the more involved I get, the more school comes naturally to me. I rowed competitively in high school so I knew I wanted to continue rowing competitively in university. In second semester, I joined culture committee as well as McMaster Hillel and have never looked back since. I've been in more clubs/committees than I can count and have been part of a few of their executive teams, each one providing me with useful skills and great memories that I'll cherish for a lifetime. Grades are important but the things you'll remember the most about university are the experiences you'll have out of the class room, not in it.

How would you describe the McMaster Engineering community?

The McMaster Engineering community is one of the best around. Everyone is super friendly and is chomping at the bit to help you. If I had a question about anything while in first year there was always some upper year I could ask who was more than happy to help me. The engineering community here is also very familial in the sense that everyone wants to help everyone else get through as best they can. The atmosphere here isn't very competitive so people are always happy to study in groups and share ideas because they don't care if you do better than them in class or not. This willingness to help extends to the professors as well, they almost always like to talk to their students and help them however they can. I have nothing but good things to say about the community here at Mac.

What do you wish you knew in your first year that you know now?

A big issue I had especially in first semester in first year was not asking for help. Us engineering students come into university with high school grades that are very high. We got through high school generally without needing much if any help at all. It makes it hard for us to come into an environment that is so challenging when you can't get through it on your own. Because I didn't ask for help, I struggled a lot in first semester, but in second semester I started studying with friends more and asking both them and upper years for help whenever I didn't understand how to do something. My grades may not have shot up in second semester but I had a much easier time achieving those grades than in first semester. Another important thing to note is that the professors also generally love to help you whenever they can. Email them, go to their office hours, introduce yourself after class, they're all human beings at the end of the day and they love it when they can get to know their students.

What's something special and fun we should know about you?

I love to go camping, hiking, and canoeing/kayaking in my time off school. I've been on camping trips in all ten provinces as well as overseas and I'm currently trying to plan a thru-hike of the Bruce trail here in Ontario. It's a 900km long hiking trail which starts in Queenston Heights by the Niagara river all the way to the tip of the Bruce Peninsula in Tobermory.

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