James Saliba (BA 2010)
What is your favourite memory of English at uWaterloo?
My favourite memory of English at Waterloo would be during Tristanne Connolly's Romantics class where I realised that English really was what I wanted to do with my degree, that I had made the right choice for my major subject.
What was your favourite English class?
Though I really enjoyed my more "traditional" English classes, taking Creative Writing (ENGL 335 & 336) was one of the most powerful class experiences in my undergraduate career. The fresh new experience of being in a workshop class with other talented and like-minded students, exploring creative processes, and developing our own styles all came together to give me such a valuable experience.
Who was your favourite English professor?
Tristanne Connolly, hands down. Her teaching style and expertise, coupled with her interest in contemporary topics such as feminist and queer theory, made her an invaluable part of my undergrad. It was because of her that I really learned how to improve my essays, and it's also because of her that I entered my Masters of English program here at uWaterloo.
If you had to describe Waterloo (the university or the city) to a Martian on his/her first trip to earth, what’s the first thing you’d tell them?
Waterloo is a great city, full of promise and life because of the two world-class universities, and the University of Waterloo holds fantastic promise for the future as a place of forward-thinking and learning innovation, as long as it remembers to keep students before corporations and to be ready to embrace change in old social paradigms such as human rights on campus.
What lessons did you take away from your experience in English at uWaterloo?
I learned to try to examine everything critically and objectively, to take strong positions on things I believe in, and to defend my positions with strong coherent arguments. I also learned that English extends beyond the classroom into so many facets of daily life.
Where do you imagine yourself in 50 years?
Still alive hopefully! I imagine myself alive, well, and thankful for where I am, and how uWaterloo got me where I wanted to go.
This profile was originally published in November, 2010, as part of the English at 50 celebrations.