Our graduates share words that inspire them

Posted on Wednesday, June 9, 2021

We’ve asked a few of our graduates to look back on their academic journey. Knowing what they know now, what advice would they give their first-year selves? Here is the complete article

 

Marianne Brown

Honours B.A. with double major in Visual Arts and Psychology

Marianne Brown

What advice would you give your first-year self?

  • Trust the process, always make time for the things you love and enjoy, and keep going to therapy! Get as many hugs as you can, eat as much cake as you want, and allow yourself to make mistakes. Straightforward academic and career paths are extremely rare, so the more you get confused along the way, the more you’ll learn – and this is a huge privilege. Try to remind yourself, as much as possible, that learning and self-reflection are the ultimate goals. 

What is your best memory of your academic career?

  • Nothing quite beats the feeling of getting fully immersed in a project, whether it be an art history paper or an art project, in my case. Some of my best memories are finally completing and re-reading or watching something I put a lot of time and care into, and being proud of what I had learned and created. Hanging out with friends on campus, drawing in the 100 Laurier studios, going to yoga at 90U, and sharing fries at Café Nostalgica, are pretty sweet memories, too.

What will you miss the most about being on campus?

  • I’m lucky and excited to be going back to campus (hopefully in person!) in the fall for a master’s in contemporary art theory. If I weren't returning, I’d miss the hidden, quiet study nooks I found throughout campus, where I could hide out with a book or project for a few hours between classes, and the proximity to beautiful, scenic walking trails and bike paths.

 

Edward Chung

Bachelor of Arts

Edward Chung

What advice would you give your first-year self?

  • Remember how lucky you are to be able to do this.  When things are not going great, just remember that there are many who would love to be in your shoes.  You are doing this for yourself, for the knowledge you acquire is yours to keep.  Forever.  Go to class and let the atmosphere soak in.  Relish each moment.

What is your best memory of your academic career?

  • There are so many! But I think the most memorable  “kind” of memory is about the times when I realized how interconnected everything is.  When I was in a history class and appreciated how my sociology class related to what history says.  When I was in a literature class and could bring to bear what I had learned in linguistics.  And so on.  It’s the “aha” moment, I suppose, that never ceases to excite me.

What will you miss the most about being on campus?

  • Without a doubt, the dining hall (before the lockdown)!  I have studied and worked in seven universities (including uOttawa), and I have never, ever, been to a dining hall this wonderous.  I’d love to stay a student here forever and keep going to the dining hall.  But more seriously, I will miss interacting with the professors in, and out of, the classroom.

 

 

 

 

 

Aisling Murphy

Honours B.A. in Theatre (French Immersion)

Aisling Murphy

What advice would you give your first-year self?

  • Invest in better snow boots! 

(Just kidding. Kind of.) 

But seriously, I would tell myself to take the time to get involved on campus while the stakes were still pretty low. I’d tell myself to write a volunteer piece for the Fulcrum—it would come in handy later during my time as Arts & Culture Editor, and then as Managing Editor. I’d tell myself to act in a fourth-year, one-act play in the Theatre Department. I’d join a choir. Making friends on a campus of 40,000 students is definitely hard: it’s easier to do that in your first year than in your fourth, and I’d make sure my first-year self understood that.

 

What is your best memory of your academic career?

  • What an incredibly difficult question to answer! The final two years of my degree, in particular, have been a total blur of amazing opportunities and experiences: I’ve been a research assistant to my favourite professor, I’ve written a play that’s gone on to be developed at Tarragon Theatre in Toronto, and I’ve been the Fulcrum’s Arts & Culture Editor. In 2019, I attended an international seminar for young theatre critics in Iasi, Romania. I’ve co-edited an academic journal and written about my creative work for an upcoming textbook. It’s hard to pick just one memory, but if I must, I think it has to be working with Dr. Yana Meerzon on my play, Feast; that experience paved the way to a lot of my more recent work. 

 

What will you miss the most about being on campus?

  • The old theatre building, Academic Hall: I’m still mourning not getting to spend the final year of my degree napping in the third-floor student lounge, directing an in-person, one-act play, and seeing new work in Studio Léonard Beaulne. I’m definitely sentimental for uOttawa pre-COVID; at any given time, you used to be pretty likely to find me gremlin-ing somewhere in that theatre building. 

Monica Kardys

Honours B.A. in French-English Translation

Monica

What advice would you give your first-year self?

  • Looking back, I would tell myself that everything will not go to plan but that’s ok. I thought my studies would take a different direction, but I love where I have ended up and it’s thanks to the risks I took and how much I volunteered in my local community. So don’t be scared and take risks! They pay off… even if you just learn that something isn’t really for you… it’s a big step in growing and discovering yourself.

 

What is your best memory of  your academic career?

  • My best memory is of changing my original plan for my studies. This meant applying to take courses that weren’t necessarily recommended for my stream but that broadened my knowledge and led me to amazing opportunities. Thanks to this decision, I found myself on a career path I had never considered before, but I am loving it!

 

What will you miss the most about being on campus?

  • I will miss the energy I felt while walking through the campus. It was a great buzz of people living their lives and doing random things. I loved seeing people dancing, drawing, playing an instrument, or just sitting with friends and studying. It’s a very cool atmosphere that can’t be felt anywhere else and I will miss it very much!

 

 

 

 

Janick Robidoux

Honours B.A. with a major in Second Language Teaching and a minor in Lettres françaises

Janick

What advice would you give your first-year self?

  • I would tell them to make the most of office hours to meet up with professors one-on-one. In my case, that’s where I learned the most, not only about the course’s subject matter, but also about my professors as people. To get on in life, I need to be inspired, and it was these one-on-one meetings that often gave me that inspiration. Dare to go see your professors!

 

What is your best memory of your academic career?

  • My best memories centre around the friendships I made with some of my peers, but also with some of my professors. The work on team projects, and especially the success of those projects, strengthened friendships that are born to last. Finally, the beautiful city of Ottawa, where you can go running along the Ottawa River or along the Rideau Canal, will certainly be among my fondest memories.

 

What will you miss the most about being on campus?

  • Being away from campus now for over a year because of the pandemic, I can confirm that the human contact we experience on campus is what I miss the most. However, if I stop to think about what I would miss the most about campus under normal circumstances, it would certainly be the many spots where I could go study, depending on my mood. If I wanted somewhere really quiet, I’d pick the library, but I also enjoyed classrooms and study rooms with splendid views of the city, not to mention outdoor areas during spring and fall.
Back to top