A Journey Through Undergrad
We had the chance to talk to Salah Masad — here’s his story about facing challenges through his years in Waterloo Engineering.
Q: So to start things off, just tell me a little bit about yourself, and/or about your experiences with mental health issues or if you know people who experienced mental health issues
I’m a fourth year mechanical engineer now, and I’ve experienced what all engineers faced in undergrad, did 6 co-ops for example. I’ve faced challenges myself and coped with the stress in my program, and I’ve seen my friends stressed out too.
The main issue i was facing was managing my time and priorities.
Q: How have you coped with it?
I just became comfortable with my grades. It didn’t matter if I didn’t get 90 or 100. I learned to accept what my capabilities were, though I still tried to push myself and work hard — within reasonable limits of course.
It’s good to spend more time outside of school as well. I’m really into sports, squash, volleyball, and soccer.
Q: Do you have any advice to younger students?
Talk about your issues to everyone around you, friends, professors, parents, anyone you feel comfortable with. Bottling up any problem internally isn’t a solution. Try not to dwell on it, as the sadness/depression will only get worse. Try to solve it.
When you talk to people, you learn how they cope so maybe you can implement their solution to your own problems.
If you need to go to a psychiatrist, or talk to coworkers, classmates, friends, family — do that.
Q: How can the public be more aware of these people?
Student bodies like EngSoc should also try to communicate more to students unaware what their fellow classmates are feeling, and try to raise awareness.
Q: Do you have any personal stories you would like to share?
In 1A, my midterm results destroyed me physically and mentally, and brought me down, and I had to understand that I was capable of accomplishing something as long as I set my mind to it — that’s how I was able to get through the term.
The question I always ask myself is — do I want to give up or do I want to overcome it? I always try to overcome things, and this was my philosophy throughout my undergrad life.
Q: Anything else to add?
To anyone who reads this — try to understand your capabilities and your skills, and use that to overcome mental health issues that occur in your life. University is only the first step to learning about yourself and there’s a long road ahead.