Nathan Katz talks about 1st year

A day in the life

Nathan Katz talks about 1st year


I had always heard about the "friendly maritimers," but it's so true—must be the Scottish roots.

Across the pond to a new pad

Bed sheets? No one told him he had to bring bed sheets.

Nathan Katz laughs as he recalls moving into residence. "I was really excited. I thought the size of the room was great and the furniture was nice and clean, but I still remember panicking because I didn't bring bed sheets with me."

A long way from home, Nathan came to Halifax from Cambridge, U.K., where he was born and raised. "I had cousins who attended Dal and I heard that the community was excellent and well-catered to," he says. "I really wanted an environment where I could meet friendly, like-minded people and that's exactly what it's like here."

Above all, he knew he wanted to study the science of the mind. "The brain has always been a fascination for me," says Nathan, "and I knew Dalhousie had a great reputation, so it was a school that really appealed to me."

A bonus was Dal's proximity to the ocean. "I'm on the rowing team and during fall semester we train for 3 to 5 hours a day," he says. "Learning to balance everything can be a challenge, but you learn how to manage your time."

When he's not rowing or studying, Nathan keeps busy with dance, choir and debate. "Debate has really improved my critical thinking skills and my ability to argue a point. I've learned how to break down an argument and communicate my ideas effectively in a high-pressure environment."

He also claims debate has helped him in his courses. "Often, professors don't just give you an answer—they challenge you," says Nathan. "Some classes I really look forward to—the profs are just really inspiring and interactive and you don't even realize an hour has gone by."

He also adds that it's not always easy to know what courses to take. "You want to choose subjects geared towards your career goals," says Nathan. "Don't be afraid to talk to an advisor and if you really don't like a class, remember, there's always freedom to switch."

"Apply for bursaries, volunteer, talk to people, attend orientation." With a year under his belt, Nathan is eager to share his experiences with incoming students. "I've thought about being an RA (Residence Assistant) next year. They've been really supportive since I came here—almost like an older brother or sister. I'd love to be able to offer that kind of support to a future student," says Nathan. "University is a new and exciting stage of life."