Class of 2017 grad, Mary Ann Matias will be returning to Ryerson in fall to pursue her MA in Literatures of Modernity. Congrats Mary Ann, we are excited that you are continuing your studies with us in Sept!
Ouch – for an English major, it's like asking to pick a favourite child! But if I did have to choose one, I'd have to go with Cormac McCarthy's The Road. If you want to check out a work that defies literary conventions for the purpose of delivering a visceral story, or just an emotional gut-punch in the best kind of way, I highly recommend it.
Favourite course/professor at Ryerson?
One of the things I'll always appreciate about my studies at Ryerson is getting the chance to dip my academic toe into the many avenues of writing that encompass English. As an avid comic book fan, ENG 590: Studies in Image and Word is definitely one of my favourites. It's a course that not only deals with comic book history and conventions, but also brings to the foreground a topic that is often seen as trivial to many other fields of study. Self-proclaimed Super Nerds, such as myself, will find themselves impassioned.
What school will you be attending in the fall and what program? What made you choose that school?
Luckily, I won't be going very far. I'll be attending Ryerson once more in the fall for the Literatures of Modernity MA program. I already knew that I wanted to pursue Graduate studies in English – it's a subject that's always felt like a natural fit, for both my writing and interests in literature. So this choice was certainly an easy one, as fours years of undergraduate experience was enough to convince me that Ryerson was the perfect space to continue exploring that potential and what has become like a second home to me. Needless to say, I see a lot more coffee in my future; one cannot live on textbooks alone!
Why did you choose to pursue graduate studies?
I suppose the simple answer would be that I sincerely enjoy what I've learned at Ryerson so far, and I want to take it further. My undergraduate studies have already shown me that my strengths lie in writing and a passion for literature, so this next step is an opportunity to sharpen that experience and discover professional fields that I may want to pursue once my time at Ryerson has finally concluded. There's a lot of self-discovery involved in earning those grades.
What are your current goals for after your masters? A PhD? Career?
At this time, I don't have any plans to take on other academic programs once I have finished my graduate program at Ryerson. My next step would be to begin exploring career-oriented opportunities, if I have not yet come across any during my time in my MA studies – preferably in the writing industry, such as a magazine or publishing company. That's the beauty of university, you get the chance to figure out where exactly you'll fit in the “real world” even as your cycle of assignments feels like purgatory. My ultimate goal is to be an author, to carve a life out of writing the kinds of books and stories that had inspired my love of literature in the first place. Words are my business, after all!
Do you have any application advice for students who want to pursue graduate studies?
Get started as early as possible! Deadlines are a well-known source of stress for any student, but it's important to take into account that this process goes both ways. The professors you may want to request letters of recommendation from will need time to prepare, and so it's best to extend that professional courtesy. It's also quite an alien process, so getting started as soon as possible will allow yourself ample time to ask questions and do research. Figuring out what exactly your respective program wants out of its candidates can streamline your efforts considerably.
How have you changed as a student since freshman year? Have your academic interests changed at all? (Were you interested in one thing that all of a sudden opened a door to something else or turned off your interest?)
Well, my writing has certainly become more versatile. As an English major, most of my time is spent writing essays, but I have also taken plenty of electives that demand very different forms of expressing ideas, like creative writing and science. Being exposed to so many different areas has forced me to adapt new styles and formats, and that flexibility has allowed for some intense introspection about the craft. Many students lament electives, especially when they may not have anything to do with their major, but I appreciate a good kick in the butt out of my comfort zone.
What is one thing you wish you knew as a freshman entering university?
I wish I had known just how independent university demands you to be. I think what first made me privy to this was the syllabus that was handed out in my philosophy class in first year; I was suddenly aware of every assignment I had to do and when, and with that how much I was expected to operate on my own. Ultimately, I'm thankful for it. Once the shock wore off, that self-reliance grants you the ability to grow up fast and navigate your studies intently. If I could speak with my past self and not risk disrupting the time stream or fabric of reality, I'd tell her to kick off those high school training wheels sooner!