Conversations with valedictorians: Emmanuella Auguste, Health Sciences

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Emmanuella Auguste delivers the farewell speech for the Health Sciences Convocation Ceremony

A diverse and multi-talented group, the Spring 2022 valedictorians are global citizens with remarkably varied backgrounds. Some come from distant places – Quito, Ecuador; Dhahran, Saudi Arabia; and Rakh Bharoke Dhaki, Pakistan. Others were born nearby – Johnson, Vermont and Bolton Ontario. And some majors come from right next door – Chambly, Quebec and the West Island of Montreal.

This year’s cohort, while coming from very different backgrounds, share enthusiasm, ambition and a well-rounded life philosophy. These outstanding students have also earned the respect of the peers they represent through their strong academic performance, leadership, and commitment to making the University – and the world – a better place.

As part of our coverage of the Spring 2022 Convocation, the reporter is conducting a series of Q&A interviews with some of our valedictorians.

In this episode, we feature Emmanuella Auguste, who delivered the farewell address for the Health Sciences Ceremony on May 26.

What is your hometown?

Montreal.

Your degree?

MSc (Applied) in Occupational Therapy.

Why did you choose McGill?

Improve my English.

Do you remember in March 2020 when McGill announced the closure of the campus?

The Monday before closing, one of our teachers was joking about this pandemic somewhere far away, but everything was under control, here in Montreal it should be fine! The day I heard the news, I was in class. Honestly, I didn’t really realize it – I was sure we would be back very soon.

What were your hopes, your concerns, your fears during confinement?

I was especially worried about my mom who is a healthcare worker and actually caught COVID. We had to completely rearrange the house so no one else would catch it. Luckily we had a great support system and we weren’t short on food, groceries, etc. But I thought a lot about those who were less fortunate than us. I was really stressed about it. “I’ll be fine” made no sense to me.

Did you have a quarantine hobby or an undiscovered/rediscovered passion or talent?

I started drawing again! It became a pleasure again. And knit.

What was it like learning at clinical sites during the pandemic?

The first summer (2020) everything was online, but the second summer (2021) we were on site. It seems like a long time ago!

What did you learn about yourself during confinement?

I learned to let go and go with the flow.

What would you say to your future biographer about being a college student during the COVID-19 pandemic?

I felt that McGill responded well in terms of transparency, emails of encouragement. I saw a more human side in the faculty and staff. The hierarchy has been partially dismantled – we all face the same challenge, let’s face it together.

What’s next after graduation?

Our program ends in November, so I finished last fall and now I am discovering what areas I love in occupational therapy, because we have not been able to discover all the facets of this fabulous profession due to the pandemic.

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