Melanie Taylor

melanie.jpgGraduated 2018

Double Major in Visual Arts and the School for Advanced Studies in Arts and Humanities

Hometown: Toronto, ON

Current Activity: Marketing Coordinator, Hariri Pontarini Architects

What attracted you to this program?

As I was finishing up my last year of high school, I dreaded being faced with the choice that I was told would define my future. Choosing which school I would attend for the next four years of my life felt like an insurmountable task. I knew I loved to learn and wanted to be challenged in whatever I did, but I was struggling to find a clear path for myself. I was initially attracted to SASAH because it offered a multi-disciplinary learning experience that would allow me to explore my options while engaging in the things I loved. Not knowing quite where it would take me, I accepted my offer with a second major in Visual Arts

"Be patient, stay focused, and make decisions that lead you in the direction that makes you happy and keeps you engaged. Although a clear path might not be neatly laid out for you now, opportunities will arise when you put yourself out there and take advantage of everything SASAH has to offer."

What are your thoughts about life as a SASAH student? What makes it unique?

As I was finishing up my last year of high school, I dreaded being faced with the choice that I was told would define my future. Choosing which school I would attend for the next four years of my life felt like an insurmountable task. I knew I loved to learn and wanted to be challenged in whatever I did, but I was struggling to find a clear path for myself. I was initially attracted to SASAH because it offered a multi-disciplinary learning experience that would allow me to explore my options while engaging in the things I loved. Not knowing quite where it would take me, I accepted my offer with a second major in Visual Arts.

How did your relationships with other SASAH students positively affect your experience at Western overall?

With small class sizes, you get to know your cohort and their varied interests and aspirations in a way that is quite unique to the School. The in-class (and out-of-class!) discussions are rich with different perspectives that can change the way you look at the wide variety of experiences and subjects that are covered over the four years. Every person in my cohort was passionate, talented, and ambitious in a way that connected us all, but our different experiences outside of the classroom created an environment that invited meaningful discussions and critical thinking.

How has SASAH prepared you for the job market and/or graduate school?

SASAH created a space where I could develop and refine the tools I use every day to problem solve, think critically, and work effectively alongside people with different paradigms and perspectives. During my four years in SASAH, I took advantage of the self-directed learning style and had the opportunity to grow in directions I may otherwise not have. Through SASAH, I did an internship with an architecture firm that turned into a full time position as a marketing coordinator. My writing abilities, creative and critical thinking, and interpersonal communication skills put me in a position to succeed. Some less tangible than others, it’s difficult to quantify all of the lessons and experiences that lead you to reach your goals after graduation. Since my internship in 2017, however, I can confidentially say that I have used the skills and tools developed during my undergrad every single day.

As an experienced graduate, do you have any advice for current SASAH students?

Be patient, stay focused, and make decisions that lead you in the direction that makes you happy and keeps you engaged. Although a clear path might not be neatly laid out for you now, opportunities will arise when you put yourself out there and take advantage of everything SASAH has to offer. SASAH is a new school that is still growing and changing. As part of the second cohort to graduate, I can say that it was very much a learning experience for us all with plenty of unknowns and lots of experimentation. For me, I know it was the right decision. I would encourage current SASAH students to continue to work hard and make it your own.