Johnathan Wells (BA 2010)
What is your favourite memory of English at uWaterloo?
My favourite memory is realizing in first year that what I really wanted to do was take English Literature. I took two English classes on a whim, not really expecting to like them, and enjoyed both of them so much. Shakespeare came alive in a way that nothing ever had for me before.
What was your favourite English class?
My favourite English class was Creative Writing (335 & 336) with Jacqui Smyth. These classes opened up to me the possibility that I could be a writer, a path that I am now pursuing. I had so much fun reading and critiquing my fellow students' work, and by handing in my own work steadily over the classes, I gained so much more confidence in myself. I've never had a class before or after where I looked forward to classes so much and didn't want them to end, or where there was so much laughing and discussing with fellow students.
Who was your favourite English professor?
My favourite professor was Katherine Acheson, who taught 350B, Seventeenth Century Literature. This class is solely responsible for developing my great love for Milton. Professor Acheson's classes were so well structured, and the class discussions were fun and interesting. Her PowerPoint presentations were wonderful, because she displayed art of the period on the slides to complement the literature that we were reading. Her enthusiasm for the material was evident, and it infected the rest of us with a desire to truly understand and enjoy seventeenth century literature.
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?
The buildings might be ugly, but this is not representative of what we do inside of them (or of what buildings look like at other campuses).
What lessons did you take away from your experience in English at uWaterloo?
Too many to count. One major one would be that uWaterloo English taught me to be confident in my own abilities and to develop my own informed opinion on any issue, instead of just believing what someone else will tell you is true.
Where do you imagine yourself in 50 years?
Having many books published, some of which will be read in Contemporary Canadian Literature courses on the futuristic uWaterloo campus of tomorrow.
This profile was originally published in November, 2010, as part of the English at 50 celebrations.