Political Science (MA)
Program Entry Date: September 2020
What is your current status in the program? I am currently completing the program.
Born and raised in St. Catharines Ontario, I have always viewed Brock University as an inspiring institution that supports students in fulfilling their goals. I graduated Brock in June 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and am currently completing my Master’s degree in Political Science, Canadian Politics subfield. I am in the Major Research Paper (MRP) stream, where my research is a critical discourse analysis that focuses on the overrepresentation of federally incarcerated Indigenous peoples in the criminal justice system. My political science interests include learning about Constitutional court cases, the Canadian judicial system, and Indigenous politics. With my passion for legal studies, my future steps are to go to law school and become a lawyer.
As I am approaching the end of my Graduate studies at Brock, I can confidently say that I have greatly matured as a student this past year. Despite completing school virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Master’s program challenged me to push my educational abilities further than experienced in undergrad. With my program I had the opportunity to be a Teaching Assistant for two different classes throughout the year. This experience strengthened my leadership and organizational skills while allowing myself to create intellectual relationships with students. I truly enjoyed the time dedicated to this work and I believe that was felt by others as I was the 2021 recipient for the Novice TA Award.
Pursing a Master’s degree at Brock was initially not my first choice. I was debating on applying to law school directly from fourth year. I found it in my best interest to first pursue a Graduate degree, build a greater portfolio with volunteer opportunities and research experience, and create closer intellectual relationships with professors. As I am nearing the end of my MA degree, I know I made the right decision. This year gave me time to explore my interests in political science at greater depths. I had the opportunity to create my own research project and even became a research assistant for my supervisor in his higher scaled work. Overall, I know my time completing this degree has prepared me for further education.
Being a Graduate student is different than Undergraduate studies as there is greater responsibility and independence. In my opinion, this is because Graduate studies is a choice to extend your university educational journey a step further. At this point you have a greater understanding of direction needed for professional development and so there are higher expectations from you as a student. Although this sounds intimidating, this push to go beyond your comfort zone is necessary to excel your skills beyond undergraduate development.
Since 2018 I had been part of the Brock Student Conduct Council, adjudicating on-campus non-academic misconduct. In this role I helped provide opportunities for restorative justice to students who have broken the student code of conduct at Brock. Additionally, this past year I had become one of the Faculty of Social Science representatives for the Graduate Students Association (GSA) Board of Directors. In this role I was appointed Deputy Returning Officer to help oversee the 2021 Executive elections and was later elected Chairperson of the Board. My time with the GSA has expanded my knowledge on student governance and has strengthened my leadership skills in an area that I had not explored up until then.
A key element to surviving Graduate studies is to ensure you have a strong support system around you. My program was quite small, there was about eight students in total, and we had a group chat to constantly be in touch, express feelings, ask for help and share advice. This was helpful as these students were going through the same things I was and could relate closely to what I was feeling. My advice for incoming Graduate students is have fun and find interest in your work. If you are doing research, choose a topic that truly interests you as you will be spending months dedicated to this topic. Try to find the positives in all your experiences.