Taylor Richardson (BA 2010)
What is your favourite memory of English at uWaterloo?
I'd have to say that one of my favourite memories of studying English at uWaterloo is my all-day reading session of Jane Austen's "Emma." I got to the part where Emma is riding in a carriage at Christmas and it is snowing outside--then I looked out of my window and it had started to snow, delicately and beautifully. I think that scene shows how links can be drawn between the material you study and the world that surrounds you, and how literature is easily something held in the heart.
What was your favourite English class?
One of favourite English classes was 18th-century literature with Professor Tierney-Hynes. She has a way of making texts from the 18th century seem like so many things at once: hilarious, ironic, tragic and relevant. It felt like I suddenly saw sides of particular works I could have never seen beforehand, and some of the lectures made the texts seem so hilarious I was in tears.
Who was your favourite English professor?
I'd have to say Professor Tristanne Connolly. Not only is her passion for her focus material readily apparent, but she taught many interesting and innovate sides of literature study, such as the transfer into digital media, the importance of studying texts as they exist in different media and forms, and things such as audience reception and why they make a difference. I felt confident learning alongside a professor who shared an interest in the taught material. She is also a kind and patient professor.
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?
To spend a year at Waterloo is to experience the extremes of all four seasons!
What lessons did you take away from your experience in English at uWaterloo?
One of the major lessons I took away from my time as an English major at uWaterloo was that you are the ultimate judicator of what you learn. And I don't mean this in the stereotypical "you'll only learn if you pay attention" way--I mean to say that everyone takes different experiences away from the same lesson. Like readings of a text, nobody reads the same thing. Being aware of your own unique learning experience, and the notion that it differs from every other student you meet, is a realisation that enlightens your experience as precious and personal to you. And this in itself is the lesson; my interpretations and life experience are things ultimately tempered by my own heart and soul, and they are inextricable components of my being.
Where do you imagine yourself in 50 years?
Hopefully, in the same position as am now--a person readily and consistently learning about the world.
This profile was originally published in November, 2010, as part of the English at 50 celebrations.