Alumni Success Stories

Jessica Wind: MA, University of Ottawa

They don’t talk about imposter syndrome until you’re there and you’re knee deep in weekly readings and class presentations. Then someone mentions the feeling that they made a mistake in admissions, and any day they’re going to realize we don’t belong there. Others nod along — they know the feeling. That’s when I realized changing disciplines for my Master’s degree wasn’t crazy: I was supposed to be there. That’s when I realized I was doing grad school right.

I felt like a fish out of water at a big university in a big city until I realized many of the others in my cohort spent their undergrads in classes 400 students deep, with minimal direct contact with their professors. They had little experience with class presentations; they worried over whether to address the prof as “doctor” or “professor” or perhaps even by their first name. This was when I started to count myself lucky for UFV's small classes and the relationships I cultivated with my instructors. I wasn’t afraid to share my ideas in class, develop a presentation, or approach my professors.

What’s more is that graduating from English and specifically the Creative Writing program provided me with a well-developed writing voice that transferred better than expected into a Communication program. I was rewarded for approaching topics from a unique angle — members of my cohort joked I was casting some sort of spell over my writing, but it was just the transferable skills and practical experience I gained in my undergrad program. It was learning and growing from multiple writing workshops. It was getting involved in my campus newspaper and literary magazine. It was being given the freedom to think outside the prescribed box and explore.

Being a grad student is one part figuring out what’s being asked of you and three parts figuring out how to start doing the things you’ve been reading about for years. To begin carving a space in your discipline where you can engage in the academic conversation, instead of sitting on the sidelines downloading from JSTOR. UFV’s English program set me up with the skills and confidence to make this transition without too many growing pains. 

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