My name is Emma, and I’m one of SASS’ bloggers this year. I’m writing this first post from my cottage in Port Blandford, Newfoundland and Labrador. Out here, it’s easy to forget that school’s about to start. After all, it’s only me, my family, and a bunch of fish. But on my last trip into town, I saw waaaay too many back-to-school adverts for comfort.
I’m usually the kind of student who plans out their class schedule months before course selection and has a foot-long school supply shopping list. At least, that’s been the case for my first three years at Queen’s. Now, I’m in my fourth year of a B.A. with an English major and History minor. Although I’m keen to return to Kingston, see friends, and start my “senior year,” I am longing for just a little while longer at the cottage!
My reticence to hit the books probably comes as I’ve spent most of this summer preparing applications for a Master’s in English literature. Planning ahead has been so helpful. It’s given me time to think about what I actually want to study away while I’m not trapped in the urgency of course readings and assignments. But this has also meant that I’m never not thinking about school. That’s why one of my goals for this upcoming semester is to not just take breaks, but to really stop thinking about schoolwork during those breaks. I’m hopeful that returning to Kingston and reconnecting with friends will help with that—I’ll keep you posted!
Even though I’m still in vacation mode, I am excited about my upper-year seminars in English. Friends of mine in upper years have talked about how fun it is to be in these smaller classes, and I’ve really enjoyed the handful of seminar-style classes I’ve taken already. I chose an English major because I just love talking about books, and seminar-style classes seem to be the perfect place for that! I’m particularly excited about ENGL 466: Controversial CanLit. I haven’t yet had the chance to read much Canadian Literature for my degree, and this sounds like it’ll be a thought-provoking introduction to the genre. Plus, we’re reading from Leonard Cohen, whose music I love. I’m also looking forward to my upcoming electives, including a French language course and a special topics course in the Black Studies department on Black and Indigenous Poetics. Last year’s course requirements left little room for electives, so I’m keen to mix things up a little this fall.
There’s a lot else to look forward to, too. For the last couple of years, I’ve been a member of Accessibility Queen’s (AQ). Last year, I was the co-chair alongside my friend, Lauren. AQ is a student-led group under the AMS that advocates for disability justice, equity, and accessibility on campus. Recently, we launched a pilot program that pairs incoming students with disabilities with upper year mentors, hosted the second annual AQ Social, and conducted a campus-wide access survey.
I’ll admit that I found co-running a club and managing my course load A LOT, but, as a disabled student, I am personally committed to AQ’s mission, and so I’m planning to return as a committee member this year. And, of course, I’m happy to be back with SASS as a blogger and a Bounce Back Team Lead. This will be my second year as a Bounce Back Team Lead, and my third as a mentor. A large part of my role as a mentor is to introduce first year students to learning strategies I’ve found helpful over the years, and I plan to share those strategies in upcoming blog posts, as well.
Oh—and one more positive about returning to campus: how could I forget Tommy’s?! My favourite greasy spoon in Kingston was closed for renovations during the summer, but a friend sent me a picture of their new-and-improved restaurant and I am counting down the days until my next plate of beer battered fries. (Get ready for lots of writing about food in my forthcoming blog posts!)
Finally, I am an English major—and a total bookworm—so before I sign off, I thought I’d share some of my favourite books from this past summer. Happy reading!
- Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
- Just by Looking at Him by Ryan O’Connell
- All the Shining People (short stories) by Kathy Friedman
Catch you soon!