When transitioning from first year to second year, Emma Solome knew she was looking for something more from her university experience. Her focus this year is incorporating extra-curricular ventures that she is passionate about while balancing a challenging degree in chemical engineering.
“In first year, I wasn’t really involved in anything,” Solome said. “I didn’t do any extra-curricular [clubs or volunteer work] for me, or to help other people, which I found left me feeling very stagnant. I wasn’t super satisfied at the end of last year.”
Solome decided to volunteer with Organic Campus and the Fair Trade Corner. She chose them for their environmentally conscious nature, providing students with options for local, organic food and fair-trade coffee, respectively.
“It's a low cost way for students be more environmentally conscious in their day-to-day routine,” Solome said. “I think these two organizations are worth investing time into since they make McGill more sustainable.”
Solome is also a member of the youth engagement venture of Engineers Without Borders (EWB), a group on campus that works to make incremental and sustainable changes to the education system in order to foster the growth of a more diverse group of young people.
“I joined […] knowing that in high school I was really unmotivated to learn in class,” Solome said. “I had a couple really good teachers […] but on a whole, there is a problem with the education system in the sense that it caters to a certain type of person [….] What we’re doing this semester is going to an elementary school here in Montreal and actually giving them workshops on problem solving and resolving local issues.”
Having previously trained for 10 years in classical ballet, this year Solome was also excited to return to dance. She joined a jazz dance class at the McGill Athletics centre, run by a passionate instructor with a heavy focus on dancing for the joy of it—something she found to be missing in the world of classical ballet.
“I’ve met all these different people who I would have never met otherwise,” Solome said. “Meeting like-minded people is key. That was the turning point so far.”
Another factor that has led Solome to becoming involved in an array of clubs this year has been her attempt to find balance outside of her school work.
“I enjoy hiking, travelling, being outside, [and] I sometimes find it funny that I’m in chemical engineering,” Solome said. “I feel like I should be in geography or something that would really get me out into the field.”
Looking to the future, travel is at the forefront of her plans, but Solome mentions an interest in urban planning as a possible career option.
“Growing up in Vancouver with the housing prices being so expensive all the time, trying to find unique ways to fit people into a city that has become so unaffordable seems interesting to me,” Solome explained.
For now, which city (or cities) she would find that career evolving in is up for debate
“The hardest thing about picturing myself somewhere in a distant future is that every time I go somewhere, I always wish I was there for longer,” Solome said.
Reflecting on her time at McGill thus far, and whether or not she feels it has changed her in any way, Solome points to noticeable shifts in her personality and outlook.
“I feel different,” she said. “I feel like I’m more open-minded, and more content with where I am, regardless of where I am.”
McGill Tribune (MT): Chocolate or candy?
Emma Solome (ES): Oh my! Right now I’d say chocolate.
MT: If you had to live with one famous person for the rest of your life, whom would you choose?
ES: Maybe Ellen DeGeneres, she’s so funny
MT: Best movie you saw recently?
ES: The new Star Wars.
MT: Number one ‘must see’ city in the world?
ES: Palermo, Italy.