Words from our Graduates

Matt Farrah, BA English (2008), BEd (2009)

"Studying English at UNB, I treasured the small lecture and seminar sizes: an avenue to express your opinions in an environment where classmates and professors were interested in what you had to say and were concerned for your development is unparalleled. It gives you the confidence to give voice to your perspectives and debate issues, which is critical if you're considering a career in Education. Classes throughout my degree taught me to develop my critical eye and improve the technical accuracy of my writing; teaching English in England, both skills are at the forefront of the curriculum. The breadth of course offerings has been beneficial particularly for teaching advanced-level and university-preparation literature classes where students complete an independent study on a text of their choosing. Without studying the range of literature I had access to, I wouldn't be able to evaluate and advise my students in their own work. Speaking to my friends who studied at bigger universities in Canada or England, the fact that my professors knew my name, took an interest in my studies and my life, reaffirmed that English at UNB was always the right choice."

Stephen Atkinson, BA English (2003), MDiv (2007)

"In the year 2000, I move home to Fredericton at age 47 at the start of what comes to be a major mid-life change. Just to have something fun to do, I enrol in two English Department courses, one in film history and the other introductory creative writing. I enjoy them so much that in the spring, I'm taking three courses, and then registering for the full BA.  Between beginning and then receiving this English degree, I have the time of my life as a mature student, learning so much more of what a basic education should be than I got through studying biology and then medicine, my first career.

My particular English degree focuses on creative writing, film studies, and drama more than most do, but reading Beowulf and Shakespeare and Congreve and Emerson - it's incredibly enriching to my life.  When I begin I do not know what I'm going to do in the second half of my life; two years later I'm aiming to go to seminary to become a Unitarian minister and, once I get there, recognize that I've already learned how to write in-depth essays.  I know quite a bit about American Unitarianism through the writers of the 19th century; I'm familiar with the religious history and thinking that's unavoidable by studying English from different centuries.  More than that, writing and drama has prepared me to design and lead meaningful worship services, and to write more effective sermons.  I couldn't have prepared better for my new profession and calling if I'd tried."

Richard MacFarlane, BA English and History (2012)

"Studying English literature is not just about reading books and poems. Language is the principal means through which we organize and communicate our thoughts, and analyzing the texts that surround us in everyday life lets us make sense of our world and provides endless avenues for learning.  Studying literature, then, becomes a fundamental way to develop language abilities, cultural understanding, and creative and critical thinking prowess, and these are skills that 21st century employers are looking for.

My English professors at UNB helped me realize this. They showed me different ways of viewing literature, and therefore the world in which it is written. They pushed me to write, helped me find my confidence, and challenged me to think. They encourage their students to submit work outside of the classroom, and the department offers a long list of prizes and scholarships that students can participate in. Although when I first started university I had not even considered a major or minor in English, the department has sent me on a course to show students the power of language in my future high school Language Arts and Social Studies classrooms."

Kelly Jarman, BA English (2013)

"My boss for my first job teaching English as a second language after I graduated told me that she hired me because of how much I knew about books and graphic novels. I ended up supervising a reading club for students and was very happy to be able to encourage students to read. My English degree made me valuable to an employer, and my degree is valuable to me because writing and reading skills are transferable and are never obsolete. After graduating, I could choose to do almost anything I wanted, from law school or grad school, to teaching abroad, to working in the publishing industry. Additionally, I learned about the latest political and philosophical theory and most importantly how to interact with and criticize it in a meaningful way."

Natasha Rego, BA English (2013)

"When I first began the Bachelor of Arts program at the University of New Brunswick, I was unsure which specific field to pursue. My love for writing and English literature drove me to take the Honours degree in English. The program was the perfect choice for me. I adored reading English literature from a variety of time periods and applying new knowledge to research papers. The Honours degree was extremely beneficial as it taught me to become a better critical thinker, researcher, and public speaker. After taking the program I have not only developed a stronger knowledge and love for English, but I have also been able to apply these skills to my everyday life. The program improved my writing skills, which is an asset in any career."

Micah O'Donnell, BA English (2013)

MA Student, University of New Brunswick

"It is difficult to condense UNB's English Department into a paragraph. Between the individual faculty members who make each class a rich, vibrant experience and the department at large whose first priority is the student, UNB English offers an involved, dynamic program. The department instilled in me not only the academic skills expected from a University program, but the sense of working within the larger framework of English studies. A student rarely goes a day without some new exciting thought, a challenging class discussion, or compelling conversation with a professor. UNB English balances rigorous academic requirements with individual encouragement to produce a program that is diverse, inclusive, and inventive. The finest decision of my academic career was choosing UNB's English Department, as the expertise, both creative and scholastic, that were imparted to me have proven invaluable."