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Rebecca Rocillo

BA English (3rd year)

Hello! Tell us a little bit about yourself! What’s your name, program, year of study, and pronouns?

Hi! My name is Rebecca Rocillo, and I’m in my third year of English studies, minoring in Film. My pronouns are she/her.

We know that this year looks different for all of us. What does this semester look like for you? In what ways have you had to adapt and in what ways is it the same?

In terms of adapting to online classes it’s been...interesting, to say the least! At first, I was glad not to have to commute all the way downtown. But I’m realizing that it’s a bit of a challenge to stay motivated and keep up with all the readings, video lectures, and discussion posts, simply because I’m in my room most of the time, a place that I associate with rest and relaxation. There are days when I wake up and find myself going involuntarily into “vacation mode”! Luckily, I’m taking some really fascinating classes (I highly recommend ENG 416 American Literatures!), and my professors are all so passionate and knowledgeable about the subjects they teach that I can’t help but be excited about the material. In that respect, nothing has changed from last year. But the at-home learning experience is definitely a learning curve - one that I don’t think I’ve fully figured out yet!

How have you been holding up? We all know that self-care is very important, all the time, but especially right now. How are you practicing self-care?

I’m doing okay so far. I am extremely grateful for my family, who is always there to support me emotionally, whether I need a laugh or a cry! I couldn’t agree more about the importance of self-care at this time. It can get so overwhelming sometimes, when it feels like a nonstop stream of school-related notifications is flooding into your brain - not to mention the constant influx of troubling news from the world outside. For me, it’s been really helpful to get outdoors for twenty minutes every day and go for a walk. I find it helps me calm down and regain my perspective.

As English students, many of us are fond of a good read! What have you been reading lately? Any recommendations?

We’ve been reading a lot of awesome books in the classes I’m taking, some of which are classics that I’ve been wanting to dive into for a while now (Frankenstein, Dracula). But what I’m most excited about are the books I’d never heard about before, which I now know are absolutely essential reads. My current favourite of these is Nella Larsen’s Quicksand, a novel written during the Harlem Renaissance. Outside of school-related reading, I’ve been deeply immersed in Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves, a heart-pounding dystopian novel in which North America’s Indigenous peoples are the only ones who still possess the coveted ability to dream. It’s a beautiful story that also speaks powerfully to the dark history of residential schools here in Canada.

We know that you worked with Ryerson’s MLC! Could you tell us a bit about that?

Working with Dr. Irene Gammel at Ryerson’s MLC Research Centre over the summer was such a fantastic experience! I was a work study research assistant, so I was responsible for compiling several annotated bibliographies of scholarly sources related to Dr. Gammel’s ongoing research projects. I also provided assistance with running the MLC Twitter account, helping to grow our following over the course of the summer. One of my favourite parts of the job was helping out with the Pandemic Webinar series, in which Dr. Gammel invited distinguished speakers from all over the world to discuss various social, cultural, and political aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic. I learned so much from the wonderful MLC team, not only about the research process but also about the unique ways in which we as humanities and literature scholars can use our skills and knowledge to respond to the ongoing global crisis.

It’s not everyday we get to meet a co-editor-in-chief! Tell us about your experience working with the Continuist! What is it like being an editor-in-chief and how can more students get involved?

Working as a Co-Editor at The Continuist has been an absolute blast so far! It’s only been a few months, but I’ve never met so many passionate and talented artists and creatives in my life. We are currently at about 45 members strong, with graphic designers, writers, photographers, filmmakers, and art-aficionados from a variety of programs and disciplines - not only within the Faculty of Arts, but in Image Arts and the Sciences as well! Just last Friday, we launched our official website, which hosts our growing collection of art, writing, and film. Nothing would be possible without my wonderful partner in crime, Eunice Addo, who never fails to inspire me with her enthusiasm and passion for art, film, zine culture and history. The job can be a bit stressful at times - we’re really pushing to take The Continuist to new heights this year, and that means doing a lot of things that neither of us have ever had experience with! We’re just so lucky to have such a hard-working team beside us. If you’re a student artist or art-lover who wants to get involved, don’t hesitate to contact us at thecontinuist@gmail.com - you can publish your artwork, attend our virtual events, and engage with us on our social media!

Anything else you'd like to share with us?

Not much - other than to say that I never thought I’d miss the smell of construction on Gould Street, but I do! Can’t wait to be back on campus once it’s safe, hopefully someday soon...