Today’s post is by Clarisa Morales, a student in English and Con-Ed and one of our Social Media Ambassadors.
Entering Brock as a student of the Faculty of Humanities can seem like a daunting and overwhelming thought. Though Brock offers specialties in a particular discipline within the humanities, there are so many facets and avenues that each discipline can take you and your learning.
I spoke with Lydia Collins, a recent graduate of the English Language and Literature program. Lydia is a writer, ambassador, advocate, and most importantly, a student who still enjoys learning. We had the chance to talk about her experiences as an undergraduate student, and how important it is to allow yourself to be vulnerable in the pursuit to create authentic and empowering pieces of work.
Can you briefly tell me about yourself and what you are currently up to?
Lydia Collins: I am a recent graduate from Brock’s English Language and Literature program with a minor in Women’s and Gender studies. Around my third year I began to get heavily involved on campus through working, volunteering, and helping with various initiatives. I had the opportunity to work for two years at Brock’s CareerZone, volunteer with Brock East African Students’ Association, the English Students’ Association and more. I currently work as the Social Media Editor for The Brock Press, the Workshops Coordinator at Brock’s Student Justice Centre, and am part of a group on campus that focuses on sexual violence prevention and education called Decolonize and Deconstruct. My academic background is clearly reflected in my work, and I couldn’t be happier about that!
Before coming to Brock, did you always know you wanted to study something in Humanities?
LC: I definitely knew I’d be studying in Humanities. For as long as I can remember I have loved reading and writing, and though I didn’t know exactly what my career path would look like (disclosure: I still don’t,) I did know that being a writer would always be a necessary and important part of my identity.
Can you briefly describe your undergrad journey? What were some of your favourite courses?
LC: My undergraduate journey was not at all clear or easy. The first two years were especially difficult for me and lead me to thinking I might want to switch my major. The thing about being in school for your art is that you have to let yourself be vulnerable, and be willing to let your work be truly critiqued.
I also struggled with the English courses that I had taken in the early years of my degree because many of them were prerequisites, or just generally classes that didn’t interest me. My focus has never really been in classic literature, so having to get through so much Shakespeare and Emily Dickinson was a little hard for me.
Once I got into my third year, everything changed. I found so many more courses that catered to contemporary literature and I had experienced some of the best professors and courses of my life. My personal favourites were certainly Rhetoric with Dr. Andrew Pendakis and South African Literature with Dr. Susan Spearey.
Do you think that your experiences in Humanities have benefited or prepared you for where you are now?
LC: My experience in the Humanities absolutely helped me get to where I am right now in so many aspects. In regards to the lessons I learned formally in the classroom but also informally through my peers, professors, and alumni. I am grateful for my undergraduate experience and know that I made the right decision with my degree and faculty.
Can you tell me about a past or current event or project that you are passionate about?
LC: Currently I’ve been busy at the Student Justice Centre, as well as with the rest of the Black History Month Committee preparing and putting on Black History Month events. There have been workshops, films, a panel discussion, and more!
Any future goals you wish to achieve with your projects?
LC: I would like to spend more time focusing on my personal blog (www.lacollinsblogs.weebly.com) so that I can continue to share my work, but more importantly, improve as a writer.
What advice would you give a student who is just starting or about to start their Humanities degree?
LC: My biggest piece of advice for someone starting their Humanities degree is to let yourself be vulnerable, allow yourself to take criticism, and know that there are opportunities (contrary to popular belief).
There is so much to learn from a Humanities degree but what has been most useful for me is my ability to think critically, because that has been helpful in every aspect of my life. Volunteer, apply to on-campus jobs, look at summer internships, don’t give up on your art, and trust that you made such an awesome decision to be a part of this faculty!