I was prepared to be out of my league at grad school and was honestly surprised at how well UFV prepared me for it.
Other students in my cohort were awkward, at first, being on a first name basis with their professors and being in such small classes (four to ten people, averaging at six or seven). But it was something I was used to — one of the very first classes I ever took at UFV only had eight people in it. Comparatively, the second-year class for which I’m a Teaching Assistant this semester has 94 students in it. It's something that UFV has always offered, but somehow I still found myself surprised to find all those benefits to be true.
The other thing that really helped me on my way was working at The Cascade, UFV's student newspaper. It was invaluable experience in writing weekly, keeping up on current events, thinking critically, editing and reading and reworking and being willing to offer advice. These are all skills that serve me well in seminars and working with the students I TA.
And of course I have to talk about Honours. I walked out of UFV with a self-directed, research-heavy, 40-page paper under my belt. I'm the only person in my cohort doing the thesis stream MA: 70 to 90 pages of pure research and exploration. But that doesn't scare me in the slightest. It's intimidating, sure. But I'm used to digging into the material, thinking critically about the things I'm passionate about, and stringing all my thoughts together into something cohesive.
Basically, grad school is everything I loved about UFV — passionate, nerdy people, one-on-one time with professors, interesting content, engaged students, opportunities to be self-directed and explore what I love. Coming from a small university, I was scared that I wouldn't measure up. But as corny as it sounds, UFV gave me all of the tools I need to succeed.