Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
Although you don't necessarily need a degree to write, or even to write professionally, I chose to pursue graduate studies because I wanted a collaborative, supportive environment in which to write and work. I wanted to engage closely with the diverse voices, ideas and perspectives of other writers, and to learn from these writers in ways that might challenge or surprise me. I also really enjoy campus life and being a student. I identify quite strongly with the term "keener."
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
I chose UBC because of its location, reputation, and the number of genres offered by its creative writing department. I came into this program expecting to write mainly fiction, but non-fiction (memoir especially) has grabbed me in a way that I don't think is reversible. I like that I've been surprised. That means I'm learning, right? I was also born and raised in B.C., and so I feel a special affinity for the west coast environment, in terms of both nature and culture. I don't think I could live in a place without mountains. They make me feel safe.
I am constantly amazed and humbled by the intelligence, bravery, and sensitivity of my peers. Hearing their voices has helped me find my own, both as a writer and as a person more generally.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
I am in love with the community of writers and friends I have found here. I am constantly amazed and humbled by the intelligence, bravery, and sensitivity of my peers. Hearing their voices has helped me find my own, both as a writer and as a person more generally. I was also blown away by the cherry blossoms this past spring. Biking through tunnels of flowers became an obsession.
What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
I listen to a lot of podcasts and audiobooks while walking or jogging in my neighbourhood. I think I digest words better and more fully while my body is moving and my eyes are wandering. I've always loved being read to, and I think there’s something especially powerful about an author reading their own words and telling their own story. I once heard an author say that “everyone is eloquent when telling their own story,” and this really stuck with me.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
Write a poem on Wreck Beach. Explore parts of campus that are unfamiliar to you. Study in the Law Library (it's beautiful). Go for hikes.