Archita Srivastava, Health Sciences Whiz & Dance Enthusiast
Our July Leader in the Spotlight is Archita Srivastava, a Bachelor of Health Sciences (BHSc) student at McMaster University. While tackling the difficult BHSc program, Archita also works as an administrative assistant at a law firm and as a products assistant at a new bedding and bath company. Additionally, she volunteers as a patient ambassador at the Toronto Western Hospital, serves as a youth executive member of the KC group, and dances in her spare time. In the interview below, learn about the uniqueness of McMaster’s Bachelor of Health Sciences program, the benefits of working in such diverse fields, and Archita’s experiences with a mobile clinic in Lima, Peru.
You’re currently pursuing a Bachelor of Health Sciences (BHSc) at McMaster University. This is one of the most highly sought-after science programs in Canada; was it where you’ve always wanted to go after high school? Tell us about the program structure and courses.
McMaster’s Bachelor of Health Sciences is a very unique and remarkable program. Some of the courses we take include Biochemistry, Human Anatomy and Physiology etc. Anatomy and Physiology are unique as they offer students the chance to work with human specimens in addition to lecture based learning. Students also do case studies and are asked many clinical application questions to further their understanding. Students also learn Epidemiology and Health Policy to develop a more holistic understanding of healthcare.
One of the best parts of the program is its focus on group and problem based learning. A lot of the learning is self-directed including various group projects. For example, one of my courses HTH SCI 2K03(Cell Biology) consisted of biweekly group presentations and reports on a topic assigned by the professor. The midterm and final exam consisted of a group interview with the professor discussing the progress throughout the semester. The topic was very general and it was up to the students to steer their learning in a specific direction.
My interest in this program arose when I attended a seminar about the program at McMaster in the fall of grade 12. I really liked the idea of self-directed learning and working in groups and thought this program would be a good fit.
You qualified for the UDO World Street Dance Championships in 2013. How long have you been dancing? Do you still find time to incorporate dancing into your university life?
I have been training on and off in different forms of dance such as hip hop and Bollywood since I was four. One of my favorite memories is competing in the Canadian Street Dance Championships with the dance academy I trained with back in high school. My team placed in the top third, allowing us to qualify for World Championships in Scotland. Even though I did not end up going to compete in Scotland, it was a worthwhile experience!
Since starting university, I no longer compete; however, I still dance recreationally.
Your work experience includes positions at a law office and a bedding/bath company. What kind of lessons have you learned in these positions that are applicable to your future aspirations? What’s your advice to post-secondary students looking for part-time work?
Working has definitely enhanced my problem solving skills and cooperation, which can be applied to any future jobs. I specifically searched for jobs in various fields to expose myself to a variety of experiences. I did not want to limit myself to a certain field. I would give similar advice to other students. Before deciding the field you would like to pursue, expose yourself to different working environments and jobs.
Your article on achieving balance in university, written at the end of your first year, presents some fantastic tips for incoming university students. You’ve now completed your second year. What have you found to be different from first year? Did you have to make any adjustments in terms of life balance?
I absolutely loved second year. One of the reasons was that my courses were more specific compared to general science courses in first year. I also found second year to be less of a learning curve compared to first year.
This year, I stepped outside my comfort zone more and seized more opportunities such as going to Peru for a volunteer trip, and pursuing research opportunities in Psychology, Neuroscience and Behavior.
What are you up to this summer?
I went on a mobile clinic trip to Lima, Peru this summer with MEDLIFE. It was an amazing experience!
I had a variety of tasks and worked with diverse people. I participated in the building of the staircase (pictured below), which benefited more than 350 people. Furthermore, I did rotations in a mobile clinic and helped provide healthcare in impoverished areas. On one day, I helped the gynaecologist perform breast and cervical cancer screenings. The next day, I assisted the pharmacist with prescriptions and distributing medication. Afterwards, I helped the doctor measure blood pressure, temperature and assisted with other tests.
Want to ask Archita a question? Schedule a chat with her today! Archita is happy to answer your questions and offer advice on the university experience and working.