I say “everyone” as though anyone actually reads this blog, but my hope is that eventually people will. I started this blog a little over a year ago with big plans that never really came to fruition. I even wrote myself a posting schedule, and was going to write stuff three days a week. I’ve tried and failed with posting schedules on both blogs and YouTube channels in the past, and it’s never really worked out for me. But this is a new year, and I am making it a tangible goal for myself to write at least two posts a week. I just won’t make a specific theme or posting schedule – I’ll write whatever strikes my fancy.
So what have I been up to since my last post, which was in AUGUST of last year? Let me tell you.
I graduated from university.
I’ve been a student at Mount Allison University on the east coast of Canada since September of 2018. I chose this university for a few reasons. The first was that it has a close proximity to my hometown, and as a homebody at the beginning of my degree I wanted to be able to go home if I so yearned. More importantly, it has a respected reputation as an institution that challenges its students, and even though I knew that I would have an easier time at a school like the University of New Brunswick, I wanted to attend a post secondary institution that would prepare me for graduate school if I chose that path. Mount Allison was wonderful for both of those reasons.
I graduated from Mount A on May 14, 2018, with a Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours with Distinction. My major was English Literature, and my minor was in History. As part of my honours program, I spent my final year writing an 80-page, 23,000-word thesis on representations of Anne Boleyn in British literature from 1530 to 1682. This experience really cemented my desire to spend my life working in academia, and I really loved working on such a big research project.
All this being said, the final year of my undergrad were incredibly stressful. I had a lot of stuff to do, not only for school but also for Masters applications, working as a Teacher’s Assistant for lower year English courses, and acting as president of the English Society. This year made me realize that sometimes, you can be working as hard as possible and still be working deadline to deadline. There was a period where I was sacrificing sleep in favour of working for “just one more hour,” and I quickly learned that this was not healthy. I learned a lot about how to balance health and school.
I got accepted into a Masters program.
I’ve known since my second year of university that I want to work in academia. At the beginning of my fourth year, the next logical step was to apply for Masters programs. I considered taking a year off, but I was on a good momentum and had the motivation so I quickly vetoed that idea. The next step was to decide where to study. I knew a few things. I want to do my PhD in the United Kingdom, so I would need to pick a school that has a respected international reputation, much like Mount Allison does for undergraduate programs. I also knew that I wanted to move to a big city, and I hoped for a school whose English department offered a warm and intellectually engaging environment. Then I had a thought: Ottawa.
In November, I went to Ottawa over my reading week to tour and visit the University of Ottawa, and I fell in love. The professors were incredibly welcoming, the city is absolutely beautiful, and they have a wide variety of English Masters programs. The most compelling aspect of the MA at UOttawa is that they offer collaborative programs in English. In September, I will be moving to Ottawa to work towards a Masters in English with a specialization in Medieval and Renaissance Studies. My literary focus is on the late medieval period and Renaissance, so this collaboration program is absolutely perfect. I am beyond excited.
I dealt with some significant mental health issues.
Everyone has ups and downs. This winter, I went through a pretty low period. I was in a relationship that, while I didn’t realize it until I was out, was affecting my mental health in negative ways. As I didn’t realize this, I was prioritizing time for something that was toxic for my mental well-being. There was a period for about a month that I wasn’t sleeping very well, my anxiety was skyrocketing and I was in a near constant state of depression. I don’t know how I stayed on top of my school work, but I am really proud of myself for doing so. For anyone who has experienced any form of mental health, you know how difficult it can be to find motivation for anything. Sadly, my blog and any other pastimes had to be put on the back burner while I focused all of my limited energy on schoolwork. As difficult as it was, I learned a lot about the importance of self-care during mental health dips, so I can’t make myself regret it.
There are a lot of other important things that happened over the last year, but those listed above are, to me, the most significant.
So, what’s next?
I have a busy but exciting summer planned. I have a full-time summer job working at a local museum and heritage site until the end of July, when I leave on the trip of a lifetime with my mother. I won’t go too much into that, because I have a series of posts planned about that trip. Until then, I’m going to be doing a bunch of little day trips in my area, and hopefully doing lots of hiking. I will be spending time at the barn, with family and with friends. When I get back, I’m home for about a week and a half before moving to Ottawa. In February, I will be going back to Europe to visit one of my good friends in Amsterdam. After that, I have no idea.
So, thanks for tuning in to a life update that literally no one will care about, but thanks nonetheless. There are three general types of posts that you can expect from this blog: travel, school, and books. I also have a tab on my blog called “life,” which is where posts like this belong.