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Carving Out a Path at UWaterloo

Amara PopeAt 23-years-old, I am in the second year of my PhD and have been lucky enough to share my thoughts with a wide range of people through academic publications, popular media, and TEDx talks!

I truly began carving out a path for myself at the start of my undergraduate degree. It seems like just yesterday that I spent Wednesday nights at The Bomber sipping on caesars, pulling late nights writing papers at DC and DP, whipping out granola bars and bacon strips to quietly snack on in class, and making cold treks across campus over to the PAC. I learned how to live a balanced lifestyle while attending the University of Waterloo, making long-lasting friendships, being inspired by some amazing teachers and truly developing my interests in academia.

Upon completing a Joint Honours Degree in Rhetoric and Professional Writing and Fine Arts, I further refined my studies by pursuing a French Certificate 1, a Global Experience Certificate, a Fine Arts Teaching Specialization, and a Digital Media Certification. I was highly involved, academically, and met a range of people in different fields of study. I was thankful for the opportunity to develop different learning styles and ways of thinking in numerous academic fields. By volunteering and later being employed at the Centre of Career Action, I also developed an interest in marketing and communications.

carving out a pathI completed my Global Experience Certificate by volunteering at a high school in Trinidad and Tobago, where I taught an entire English course for their last semester and aided several art classes. My Fine Arts Teaching Certificate also involved me volunteering in both my former elementary school in Elmira, ON and high school, Cameron Heights C.I., in Kitchener, ON. I loved teaching, art, writing, digital media, cultural studies, marketing, and advertising but I finally found a way to combine all of these interests during my third year at UWaterloo.

I remember the moment I clicked on ENGL 392A with Dr. Deman. The course allowed me to explore various forms of communication (visual, linguistic, online) in different media. I started studying music videos and how they are both a vehicle for communication and a tool for advertising. I later developed an interest in advertising and communication and the role of musical artists themselves in my MA. I continue to explore these ideas in my PhD.

Through volunteering, working, and my academic studies at UWaterloo, I learned how to think and teach using different approaches. I continued to push myself academically, and found a way to build interests in different fields and uniquely pull them together.

From day one, I had a plan that later turned into another plan, and by the end of my undergraduate degree I was entering into a new field of study. Throughout this journey, the biggest lessons I learned were to ask questions, be confident in trying new things, and find ways to use your personal interests and passions to build your own academic and/or non-academic career.

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