Posts Tagged "Annual Atlantic Undergraduate English Conference"

I’m glad I took a break from university.

Posted by on Sep 9, 2014 in Life in Writing | 0 comments

Throughout high school and university, I was always a bit of a laissez-faire student. Didn’t pass that math test? Meh, there’s always another–final mark be damned. Slept through my 8:30 AM class because I was up all night gaming? Wouldn’t be the first time. I was that one cringe-worthy student that no one wanted to be paired up with for a project–unless, of course, it was one of the rare projects I was actually interested in doing. I graduated high school and made a beeline for Universit√© de Moncton in 2004, not really knowing what to expect. I stumbled through a few years of skipping classes, dropping out of classes and, occasionally, failing classes. It may not be a time I’m proud of, but it was an immensely important learning experience for me. I’m the type of person who, sometimes, has to learn the hard way. In 2007, I finally finished my required English courses, minus one. Since I was an English major, this took all the fun out of university. Suddenly, I had to take a number of required courses that weren’t at all related to English. This was my own fault. I didn’t pace myself over the years, and I got all the fun courses out of the way early because of that. That fall, I failed a linguistics class, resulting in a panic attack–something I’d never really experienced before. I went back to university in the winter, and I wasn’t looking forward to it. I signed up for a full course load of five. Within the first few weeks, I had dropped two courses that gave me so much anxiety I couldn’t stand to even attend class. One of them–oddly enough a drama class–had me breaking out in hives. Another class I took, a three-hour long ethics class with a lot of homework, forced us to read our answers out in front of the class. I left half-way through the class one day, tears rolling down my cheeks at the mere thought of it. I also had enrolled in one English class, and it was one that I had failed in the past–the only English class I’ve ever failed, and my very last requirement for my major. When I got my midterm back and saw that, despite my best efforts, I had failed it, I lost myself. I handed the exam back and ran from the administration building to the arts building, right up to my mother’s office. She saw the look on my face and I’m sure she must have known what was coming next. “I’m leaving university,” I blurted between my sobs. “I can’t do this anymore”. She looked at me for a long moment, then nodded, and said “okay”. I went to my doctor in the days that followed and asked him to write me a note so I could get out of university without suffering failures in all of my enrolled courses. I didn’t really know what I was going to do. Brad and I were living together at the time, and I hated our apartment. I would be going back home for the summer in a few short months, so I couldn’t get a job. I visited my Nana in the hospital; I drew; I sewed; I wrote. When summer came, I went back home to work at the general store. I told people I was taking a break from university, and they advised me not to take too long a break. Some people told me I’d never go back. But my closest friends, my mom and dad, and Brad, all knew better. They were always supportive. Brad and I moved to Moncton permanently in late summer, 2008. We got a new apartment–coincidentally on Alma Street–and got a cat. I spent the next five years working a few different jobs: waitressing at a Tex-Mex restaurant (I lasted four months), being a barista at a Second Cup kiosk in the mall (a year and nine months), and going from regular employee to assistant manager to store manager at DAVIDsTEA (three whole years)....

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Annual Atlantic Undergraduate English Conference

Posted by on Mar 20, 2014 in Life in Writing | 0 comments

I mentioned in an earlier post that this was going to be a year of opportunities for me. This past weekend, I had an opportunity to represent Universit√© de Moncton, along with three of my fellow English department students, in the Atlantic Annual Undergraduate English Conference that was held at Dalhousie University in Halifax. On Friday night, we listened to Lynn Coady deliver a keynote address, approaching the topic of being unafraid to write despite having people against you. The next day opened the floor to the students from the Atlantic region, and I had the privilege to hear interesting papers about everything from mental illness through aerial dance, to comparisons of Monty Python’s Life of Brian to the Second Shepherd’s Play. Creative panels displayed the talents of students, who wrote about family war-time stories and read aloud their diverse and thought-provoking poetry. On Saturday afternoon, I had the opportunity to read my own poetry in front of the crowd. Interestingly, that same day was my father’s birthday. Allan Cooper is a poet, and because of him, I’ve been exposed to poetry my whole life. I have never read a selection of poems in front of others; I’ve always been reading just one or two. It seemed fitting that, on his birthday, I take the opportunity to read fully for the first time. This weekend, it hit me just how much I miss being an English student. I’m still an English major, but I finished my required courses ages ago and am just ticking off all my necessary, required courses, now. I especially miss writing critical papers–analyzing works of literature, or articles, and trying to find the mysteries in each. I think I might do a few on here–for fun–over the next little while. Why not? I have a few ideas in mind already. Attending and reading at this conference was a fantastic experience, and I highly recommend it to any Atlantic Canadian English student. Submit you paper or creative works next year, and take pride in your...

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