My name is Alexander MacIsaac, I just finished my second year as an English major, and I use he/him pronouns.
Why did you choose to become an English major?
So, I chose to become an English major because writing, reading and exploring facets of literature has always been very interesting for me. After my degree, I hope to work within the publishing field as an editor, and I saw English as the best program to really fine-tune my editing skills and abilities while still having the opportunity to work on my own writing as well. English and English-related courses were always my favourite in highschool, and once I decided that I really wanted to give editing a shot, it became a no-brainer what program would be best for myself.
What is your favourite English course that you’ve taken so far?
By far, my favorite courses I have taken in my program are two creative writing courses run by Prof. Lauren Kirshner. I love to write in my spare time, but I have always suffered from being my own worst critic...However, while in these courses, as I had to submit short stories and other writing as part of the assignments, I found that I was able to shut off my inner critic and view my writing as just another assignment to finish. I find that I am able to write a great deal without judging myself too much.
How has your experience been as a student in the Ryerson English program so far?
Overall, my experience so far in Ryerson’s English program has been really great. One thing that I was pleasantly surprised and did not expect when going into my program was just how knowledgeable each of my professors would be in their respective fields. Looking back, this seems a little silly, but I highly enjoyed discovering that most professors were just as passionate about English and writing as I am. One thing I would love to see however is more opportunities for English majors at Ryerson to meet and interact.
What have you been watching, reading, listening to, and/or writing?
To keep myself occupied during everything that's going on, I’ve definitely been leaning into my Netflix and Disney+ subscriptions to fill up the empty hours, but that seems to be pretty common with most people. I have also been working on my own personal writing projects during this time as I finally have all the time in the world to sink into them. This has definitely helped my mental state during the pandemic, as being able to escape into a character's point of view for a while and forget about everything going on has been almost therapeutic. I would encourage people who think they can be creative right now to try it out, cause it has definitely been a great boon for me.
Any word of advice to incoming English students?
One piece of advice I can give to incoming English students is to always put your mental health first. University can be incredibly daunting, and it can be easy to lose yourself in the grind from due-date to due-date, and so setting aside dedicated time just for yourself can be very important. I always try to reward myself after every test or big assignment, whether that means treating myself to a nice meal or setting aside some time to go explore the city or something along those lines. It doesn't have to be huge or expensive, but spending time alone unwinding and doing something fun can be a great boost to my mental health. On a more practical note, I always find that writing out my due dates each semester on pieces of paper and posting them on my wall really helps me manage my time.
(by Zanele Chisholm, Department of English Social Media and Web Content Coordinator)