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Jun. 17th, 2007 | 09:27 pm
posted by: atheilen in bhums

Hi. I'm Sarah, and I will be starting in the Humanities this fall. Thought I'd make a post here and introduce myself. I live in BC, but have been to Ottawa many times and love it, so I'm looking forward to moving there for a while.

So, my info:

Name: Sarah
Year of entry: 2007
Stream: A (though I may double-major in Political Science. I've decided to wait to make a final decision on that until I see what the courses in Humanities are like.)
Why I chose the Humanities: The reading list. It seemed very much like a thinking person's library, AKA all the books I would never have time to read if I chose another major. I was all set to apply to Journalism and then clicked on the college's website randomly a week before the deadline. I think I can say that that was the fastest portfolio ever constructed. It was followed by the slowest admissions process ever, because first my transcripts went missing, then I had to send some more, and then they had to evaluate my credits.

Can anyone tell me a little about the program? Which professors are good? How heavy is the workload? What's the mentorship program like?

Hope to meeet some of you soon!

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Comments {4}

Phronetic Man

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from: phronetic
date: Jun. 18th, 2007 06:11 am (UTC)

Hi, Sarah, welcome to the College. I'm an alumnus of several years' remove from the program, but in general my answers to your questions should be current.

Can you tell me a little about the program?

It's awesome. The program draws together a lot of really smart overachievers who have common interests but not a common career path or industry; the end result is a program that's intimate without being truly cliquey. You'll get really close to the other students; they'll look out for you, you'll socialize, it'll be fun.

Which professors are good?

Noel Salmond. Kim Stratton. Roy Laird. Greg MacIsaac. Ian Cameron. ... Oh, basically all of them.

How heavy is the workload?

It's no cakewalk. There's a lot of reading, and not the kind that you can catch up with through Coles Notes; you discuss the core readings in weekly seminars, which requires more than superficial understanding. You'll be expected to write well and think clearly. That takes patience and good time management.

The advantage in the first year is that the courses reinforce each other, especially if you're reading lots of philosophy or religion. The things you learn in one course give you ideas to help you in others. The program's intimacy also helps; it's easier to organize effective cram sessions with people that you know.

What is the mentorship program like?

It's cool. If you have an idea of where you'd like to work after graduation, the mentors are a much-needed bridge to the real world. My mentor was Charles Gordon, a columnist at the Ottawa Citizen, who had a lot of constructive career advice and even helped edit my first book.

Hope that answers your questions. My e-mail's eannett at connect.carleton.ca if you want to talk further.

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from: smilingplatypus
date: Jun. 18th, 2007 12:12 pm (UTC)

Yeah, I second all that, especially the welcome! I can't really say it better. I'm abroad this year (coming home in less than a month!), and being away from Hums really makes you realize how fantastic the College is. We're all geeks and nerds, myself completely included, but it's more fun that way.


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from: gwenlian
date: Jun. 18th, 2007 04:55 pm (UTC)

1. the program is great. it doesnt really feel like you're learning cause its all interesting. sometimes people are a little pretentious but you'll get used to it.

2. all of them are good.

3. keep up with the readings!! trying to read everything the day before discussion group is a pain in the ass. as long as you're moderately organised you'll be fine.

4. i havent done it yet, but im sure it could be beneficial if you kind of know what your career path is.

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from: willsamuel
date: Jul. 15th, 2007 06:36 pm (UTC)

Welcome to the Humanities.

Sadly, I was removed from the program when I could not balance home, work and school at the same time thanks to circumstances beyond my control. Nevertheless, my heart and my mind are still on the third floor of Patterson Hall. Let me take a moment to answer each of your questions in turn as the esteemed alumnus did.

Can you tell me a little about the program?

Certainly can. The program is entering into it's 11th year with your class and in your first year there is definitely not for everyone. It is tough. You will be asked to question your personal beliefs on a daily basis and if you can manage to leave those at the door prior to lectures and discussion groups you will be perfectly fine. A lot of people get hung up on the details of the texts that you are going to read. Those details are important but there is an overarching theme to each text and lecture that has to be examined. Your essays will be marked exceptionally hard (you are in an elite honours program at the University ... so pick up Strunk and White's Elements of Style ... Learn it, love it, breath it ...). Your reading (as stated) is daunting. Your social life will revolve around your residence and those in Humanities until you acclimatize yourself to the requirements; this is quite normal. If you find yourself lost or behind do not be afraid to ask for some help ... the upper years are usually amazing for this and I know for a fact the 2nd years will be there to help out (if they're not, tell me lol).

Which professors are good?

All of them. In your first year you will not have the wonderful Kim Stratton to teach Myth and Symbol with Noel Salmond as she is on sabbatical, but you will find that each one of the professors has an extensive background in the subject they are teaching. Not only are they brilliant, but they are straight up decent people and generally a lot of fun to chat with one a casual basis. I absolutely encourage you to take in guest lectures, museum tours, etc. from any one of the professors hosting such events. Also take in the Opera night (my one regret last year is I never attended these because of proximity of the location to my home and my schedule).

How heavy is the workload?

Primarily you read. You will be asked to write a few papers that must be researched and thought over heavily. As I said above, Strunk and White's Elements of Style is a godsent to you and I advice you pick it up (ISBN: 020530902X ... yes, it's on my desk). You'll find that your electives feel like a complete cakewalk in comparison to your HUMS classes and that's quite normal ... but don't neglect them. Find time for yourself though. There are several "parties" over the year and you should make an effort to go to them. The one problem in HUMS is the clear division of Res kids and Off Campus kids ... don't be a Res Kid who never goes to the lounge and avoids parties. These parties, aside from some drinking, are the glue of social aspect of the college. They're nothing like other parties. You can find lots of drinking, but at other parties you won't find discussions of Bacchus vs Ganesha ... or Nietzsche vs Voltaire ... Or (as per my anual Christmas party) Douglas Adams readings whilst watching Star Wars Christmas Special lol.

The Mentorship program?

This reminds me I need to call my mentor soon. Anyway, it's not bad. It's not what I thought it was and though it's an interesting tool it isn't widely used. Basically you are paired up with someone of similar interests to your own (or as close as possible) to help guide you through university and life. My mentor isn't a perfect match to me, in fact he's a little off from it, but he is valuable. Example:

I asked for a mentor who is both a writer and an educator. My dream is to teach and while doing that I want to write a book or two based in my past experiences and questions in life. I was paired up with a gentleman who was a teacher for several years but later was on the board of directors at Carleton University. He's mostly a Bureaucrat in the system at the school, or at least he was as he recently retired. It's not spot on all of the time, but if you luck out it's good. Ian Cameron runs that desk now so we'll have to see if you get something good.

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