Prem Sai Ramani
Double Major in Chemistry and the School for Advanced Studies in Arts and Humanities
Hometown: Vancouver, BC
Current Activity: Writer for LaineyGossip + Marketing Co-ordinator for WELL Health Technologies Corp. a Health/Tech start-up based out of Vancouver
What attracted you to this program?
I joined SASAH in my second year, after hearing about the program from a SASAH student and close friend. She and I would walk back from class, sharing stories of what we went on in our respective classes, and I always found her stories to be WAAAAAY more interesting than mine. No matter the specific discussion topic, it seemed like there was also an enlightening, engaging, and lively discussion, one that usually dealt with questions we don't often get to discuss academically: what does it mean to be a good person? How are we supposed to interact with the world around us? When I learned more about the program, I also loved the interdisciplinary nature of the classes that dealt with art, music, literature, philosophy, ethics, and even pop culture. It was the perfect way to learn about important themes, while studying a variety of sources and media, something I had been craving since I got to university. While much of the university experience is about narrowing and deepening your knowledge, SASAH is about broadening it in the best ways possible.
"This is an incredible opportunity, and the goal is to enjoy it as best as you can, in whatever way you want to."
What are your thoughts about life as a SASAH student? What makes it unique?
Life as a SASAH student is really fun, albeit sometimes a bit challenging. The best part of being in the program is that you're surrounded by like-minded individuals. They're like minded in the sense that they are dedicated and interested in the same educational format as you. However, each SASAH student also brings an incredibly unique and diverse perspective to the classroom. Since you are required to take a major in addition to SASAH, the program is filled with a variety of people in different programs and faculties, enhancing discussions and projects. Some of my closest friends and favourite individuals have come from the SASAH program, and while it may seem cliched, I genuinely felt like part of a family by the end. Plus, with small class sizes, professors become close supporters of your education, often available to talk about your academics, your challenges, or even what's happening in your life. It's a positive and rewarding relationship that has proven to be incredibly helpful in innumerable situations. Being a SASAH student involves putting 100% of your effort into the class. It can be intensive at times, but also incredibly fun. One of my favourite projects was where we were assigned a name in a cemetery and we had to research and present the life story of the individual by searching through library archives, city records, library stores, and a multitude of other sources. I've also written and performed an original rap in SASAH as well. That's just how SASAH is, everyday is different.
How has SASAH prepared you for the job market and/or graduate school?
SASAH has given me a number of subtle skills whose importance I have only just started to understand. In my second year, I took a rhetoric and writing course that greatly improved both my verbal and written communication. I'm currently a professional writer and copy writer, and I attribute much of this success to this course, and the others that I took during my time in the SASAH program. The program also encourages creative and critical thinking, encouraging students to discuss, debate, and explain their points in a clear and cohesive manner. Our subject matter varies, but it often deals with complex and layered topics that require a careful examination and understanding. These are skills that are incredibly important, both in the workplace but just in life as well. Finally, my fourth year of SASAH was designed around professional development. The first half examined pop culture and celebrity gossip with Lainey Lui, where our assignments were modeled after realistic journalistic deadlines and topics. The second semester featured guests from a range of professions, all indicating how an arts degree could be turned into a professional career. This provided us with perspective on the available industries and shared their career stories about how they got to where they are now. For me, this demystified the daunting task of "joining the real world" after graduation, enabling me to evaluate my strengths and weaknesses, and highlight my skills for the professional world. Of course, the fourth year seminar was also how I was introduced to Lainey Lui, who I would eventually writer for on her website, laineygossip.com.
As an experienced graduate, do you have any advice for current SASAH students?
Enjoy your time in SASAH as much as you can. It's a wonderful program, filled with talented individuals, and caring professors who are always willing to help you out, even after you graduate. This is an incredible opportunity, and the goal is to enjoy it as best as you can, in whatever way you want to.