Interview with Glendon Alum: Jay
Q. 1: Tell us about your involvement at Glendon.
A: I spent five wonderful years at Glendon, starting in 2011 and graduating with the class of 2016. My major was Political Science so naturally I joined the campus political association right off the bat. The amazing frosh week that I experienced led me to be a D-Frosh in my second year, hoping to give back the same exciting welcome that I received when I first came to Glendon. I also had the opportunity to go on exchange to France in my 4th year, studying at Sciences Po Grenoble, which I can confidently say was the best decision I have ever made. During the last year of my studies, I had the opportunity to become a research assistant to Professor Francis Garon, which tested the research and analytical skills I had developed during my time as an undergraduate student. I also had the privilege of representing all Political Science majors as the student member of a hiring committee which hired a new professor for the now-current academic year. It was a humbling experience to give back to Glendon students; to be able to voice the expectations students have for their professors.
Q. 2: What do you miss about Glendon? Do you have any regrets about your time here?
A: I really miss interacting, studying and just generally hanging out with international students at Glendon. Glendon is blessed with small class sizes and a high percentage of international students. I can say with a high degree of confidence that this is not the case for most universities. Glendon’s International students enrich the academic experience by bringing a unique perspective and they are always open to learning more about Canada and its people.
Q. 3: What are you up to now?
A: I am currently a graduate student at Carleton University, working towards a Master of Public Policy and Administration degree. In addition, I work three days a week as a Junior Policy Analyst at Canada Border Services Agency. Striking a good balance between work and school is hard, but moving to Ottawa has given me an opportunity to work in a field which is very relevant to my studies, while still being able to remain a full-time student. It’s a constant learning curve.
Q. 4: How did Glendon help you get where you are now (or where you want to be)?
A: Glendon made me who I am today. It prepared me academically to be able to face the challenges of graduate school. It also gave me a competitive edge in the job market through its excellent French language training. More importantly, the relationships I developed with professors (as a direct result of the uniquely small class sizes) were crucial. Personal relationships with professors did not just end with good reference letters for job and grad school applications, their advice and genuine care set me up to logically tackle the most daunting challenge for every student. Apart from academic and professional development, Glendon made who I am today by providing a positive environment that allowed me to grow as a mature young adult. Juggling academic responsibilities, personal setbacks, ubiquitous love and heartbreak, drama between friends, and just flat out learning to do laundry - these were just a few of the many invaluable life experiences that prepared me to become a true adult.
Q. 5: What advice do you have for current Glendon students?
A: Well, I have two pieces of advice for students at Glendon and that is to capitalize on the two most obvious Glendon advantages. First, take advantage of Glendon’s bilingual environment. I can’t stress enough how important French language competency is in the professional world, especially for those of you who are interested in careers in the public sector. We live in a country with two official languages, and the survival of official bilingualism rests on the shoulders of competent bilingual young professionals. Please take advantage of resources like Salon Francophone and opportunities to make francophone friends, I can tell you that the real world or universities outside of Glendon will not offer such generous opportunities to learn, speak, and interact in French.
Secondly, get to know your professors. It is very uncommon in other universities for undergraduate students to be able to build strong personal relationships with professors, at any level. Glendon’s small size and the student-centered attitude of the faculty is truly a gift from God. Aside from their obvious academic expertise, Glendon professors possess a wealth of personal life experiences that can help guide your decisions regarding your next chapter. I’m sure I don’t have to remind students how crucial reference letters are for graduate school or even a job. Reference letters that can truly speak to you at a personal level can make a huge impact, especially when they’re being compared to generic letters from professors who can barely remember your name.