Meet Aidan Mehak, a fifth-year psychology student working towards getting her PhD PHOTO: SKYLER ASH

People of Ryerson: Aidan Mehak

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By Skyler Ash 

At the beach floor in the Student Learning Centre, you may run into Aidan Mehak, a fifth-year psychology student who lives in Toronto. Mehak chose Ryerson because she loves the city, and both of her parents are Rye alumni. “I also really like being downtown. So many food options!” says Mehak, recommending Salad King to her fellow vegetarians.

Mehak volunteers in two psychology research labs. One lab does cognitive research with babies three, six, and nine months, investigating how they learn. The other does research with children who have externalizing disorders, like anxiety or depression.

Mehak helps teach the kids something called mindful martial arts, which sounds a bit confusing, but she says it, “allows them to slow down and focus on the present — that’s the idea of mindfulness. It’s based on Buddhism.”   

Mehak learned how to deal with the stress of university life after her first year.  

“I got a 60 on my first paper and I was devastated, but I bounced back and I’ve been doing well since,” she said.  

Mehak’s dedication and hard work has landed her on the dean’s list. Her advice to fellow students who find themselves in the same difficult adjustment period is to go to class, take notes, and do your readings. “You’ll find your groove. First year is really a balancing act, and figuring out how you work independently.”

Once Mehak found her stride, she made big plans for her future. After this year, she’ll be applying to graduate school to get her PhD in psychology and she hopes to become a clinical psychologist. Life in the lab working with children has shown her that that’s where she wants to focus her energy and studies. “I want to work specifically with kids with anxiety and mood disorders,” she said.

Mehak has already planned out her thesis project. “Women are taught to see themselves as objects and how this creates a lot of body dissatisfaction and anxiety about appearance, and basically I’m going on to compare that to disordered eating, like binging or restriction.”

So, Mehak’s life after school will consist of more school, but she’s perfectly happy with that.

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