Julia Vance

juliaProgram: English and Writing Studies

Year of Study: Four

Hometown: London, Ontario

Extra-Curricular Involvement: Member, Off-Campus Board of First Years, Internet Commissioner, Arts and Humanities Students’ Council, Programming Assistant, Arts and Humanities Soph Team 

Why did you choose Western?

I was not enrolled at Western for my first year of university. When I got settled in at the initial school, I realized that it wasn’t the right fit for me. I began struggling with mental health problems and eventually withdrew and took the rest of the year off. Once I returned home, Western was the only place I wanted to be. My dad is a professor at Western, and has been since I was three years old. I realized that I wanted to be in a place that was familiar to me and that I was comfortable in. What appealed to me most about Arts and Humanities at Western was the size of the faculty. Because the faculty is small, I know almost everyone in my program and most of the students in my year. The small size of the faculty allows for smaller classes with the potential for more meaningful in-class discussions. I wanted to be housed in a faculty that would make me feel like a “someone” and not just a number. 

What is one highlight of your Arts and Humanities experience so far?

One highlight of my Arts and Humanities experience so far is the opportunity I had in third year to travel to New York City for the course Reading the City: Representations of New York City in American Literature. Not only did we visit historical sites that we read about in class and tour fantastic museums, but we also spent a lot of time exploring the city. 

What are your plans after graduation?

I, like everyone else I know, have switched my degree and the plans for my future so many times during my undergraduate career that I have lost count. However, last year, I finally settled on something that filled me with the feeling of passion that I was looking for. After graduation, I plan on pursuing a career as an animal rights lawyer. My education with the Faculty of Arts and Humanities has given me the chance to grow and collaborate with a diverse group of peers that have opened my eyes to different ways of thinking and seeing things that I never saw before. The Department of English Language and Literature within Arts and Humanities has taught me how to think critically about the world around me and has given me a strong foundation for my future in animal rights because of the ways in which I now view the world. 

What advice would you give to incoming Arts and Humanities students?

Go to university with an open mind. You do not need to know exactly what you want to do for the rest of your life the minute you set foot on campus. Be open to loving courses that you thought you would hate and hating courses that you thought you would love. It’s totally okay to realize that the program you enrolled in in first year isn’t the right fit for you. It’s okay to go down a different path than you intended to when you first came to Western. Take courses that you wouldn’t normally take. Be open to the idea that you might discover something new that you love even more than your original plan. 

What is the best thing about your department?

One of my favourite things about the Department of English Language and Literature is the diversity of thoughts, opinions, and perspectives that come together in class. The study and interpretation of literature really showcases the diversity of thought that the department and that this faculty, has: everyone comes in with a different background and a different perspective and five people can interpret the same text five different ways. This diversity doesn’t indicate the weakness or failure of the text. Instead, it shows the strength, beauty, and impact of that text. It’s fascinating to see how one text can have multiple meanings and hold true to every one of them. Literature means something different to every person studying it and that summarizes this department and our faculty beautifully.