Survivor Maryanne Oketch credits win to adaptability
McMaster graduate Maryanne Oketch credits her win on the reality show Survivor to her adaptability – a skill she says she honed during her time in the integrated science (iSci) program.
“I remember there were times when experiments would fail, and they’d fail again, and fail again,” says Oketch as she recalls doing thesis work in the lab of Karen Mossman, McMaster’s vice-president of research.
“It can be very disheartening. But that’s when you sit back and realize, ‘Let me try something new. Let me figure something out.’”
Oketch, who won season 42 of the show, says those laboratory experiences proved to be a training ground for lessons she carried with her into the competition.
“On Survivor if my plans didn’t work out the way that I thought they were going to work out, I wouldn’t be like ‘Oh well,’” says Oketch. “I’d figure out what’s the next plan. Let’s figure out what’s next. I wouldn’t just give up and lie down.”
Hartley Jafine, a co-instructor with Jennifer Nash of a McMaster that uses Survivor as a platform to analyse issues like leadership, ethics, morality and representations of race, says Oketch’s interpersonal skills were also key to her success.
“During the only time her tribe went to tribal council before the merge, the options seemed to be Marya or Maryanne to vote out. What saved Maryanne was the connection and relationship she built with the other players of her tribe.”
McMaster graduate Maryanne Oketch says her adaptability is what helped her win season 42 of Survivor. The finale aired two weeks ago.Since then, the messages of congratulations have been rolling in, including many from members of the McMaster community.
“I’m feeling the love from McMaster. I really am.”
Oketch says she is currently working at her church and taking some time to figure out what’s next, including a possible return to school.
Asked what advice she would give to McMaster students, Oketch says to try to find a balance between working towards long-term goals while also remembering to enjoy the journey.
The Sole Survivor also shared some more direct advice.
“If you’ve never left Westdale, and you go to McMaster, leave Westdale. There’s some cool things outside of there.”