Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The End of My Fall Semester At Queen's: A Sequence of Events

Queen's University, Kingston, ON

Folks, I've reached a milestone. I've officially completed one third of my Master's degree. Hurrah! Actually, let me re-phrase that. Today was the last day of my Fall semester classes, which means that once I hand in my last essay next Tuesday (which, really, is pretty much done. Who knew writing about neoliberalism could be so easy? Double hurrah!), I will be officially done one third (one semester out of three) of this graduate degree. Oh, how time flies.

As Janice just noted, "It was our first and last Fall semester of grad school. We'll never have a Fall semester at Queen's again!" Oh Janice, how wise of you.

So how was my first semester at Queen's as a graduate student? It seems just like yesterday that I was blogging about my first week of classes. And yet here we are, three months later. It's funny how life works out. I like to think about the sequence of events like this....

If my 13-year old self hadn't attended the Gordon Graydon Memorial Secondary School information session ten years ago, I wouldn't have known about the IBT program, applied for the IBT program, was interviewed for the IBT program, and ultimately accepted into the IBT program.

If I hadn't spent four years in the IBT program, I wouldn't have met the three most influential teachers I've ever had in my life. If I hadn't enrolled in the IBT program, I wouldn't have taken an Introduction to Law course with Mr. Mike Ford (RIP), which was one of the defining moments of my high school career.

If I hadn't taken Introduction to Law, I wouldn't have participated in Graydon's provincial mock trials and debates.

If I hadn't been encouraged to participate in mock trials, I wouldn't have realized (so soon) that I had an interest in (logically arguing?) attending law school.

If I didn't have (such an early interest) in attending law school, I wouldn't have started looking into Political Science programs at Ontario universities.

If I wasn't interested in studying Political Science in high school, I would have chosen a Journalism program and would have obtained a (professional) undergraduate degree elsewhere. I wouldn't have attended UofT.

If I hadn't attended UofT, I wouldn't have met the most incredible professors that fundamentally shaped my academic career and research interests. If I hadn't met these incredible professors (read about one here and the other here), I wouldn't have taken the fourth year Constitutional Law course that ended up being the highlight of my undergraduate experience.

If I hadn't studied with these particular professors (who were the most encouraging individuals I have ever met in an academic setting. Who says UofT sucks?), I wouldn't have considered obtaining a Masters degree before law school.

If I hadn't considered obtaining a Master's degree before law school, I wouldn't have taken a look at the program at Queen's University.

If I hadn't researched Masters programs at Queen's (the London School of Economics, Western, etc.), I wouldn't have applied and wouldn't have been eventually accepted at these schools.

If I hadn't accepted my offer from Queen's, I wouldn't have moved to Kingston this past September (and I wouldn't have started this blog! What!).

If I hadn't moved to Kingston, I wouldn't have had the pleasure of taking some awesome courses in the Fall semester of my Master's program. I wouldn't have taken a course that pretty much shifted my research interests away from Comparative Politics towards a more Canadian Politics focus (Oh, Canada). I wouldn't have realized how much I enjoyed reading about and researching the dynamics of political parties. I wouldn't have had the pleasure of realizing how much I enjoy research the politics of multi-level states and the implications of federalism in Canada.

In short? As this Fall semester comes to an end, I can honestly say that I have no regrets, my friends. My first semester here at Queen's was everything I imagined it would be. Actually, it was more. I've taken some wonderful classes, taught a great group of students as a TA, met some incredible friends, and had the pleasure of living in a city that I've grown to love.

One semester down, two to go! Here's hoping next semester is just as great!

“To be yourself, in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else, is the greatest accomplishment.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.”
- Albert Einstein


  1. Hello!
    My son applied for IBt program and got an interview.
    May be you remember what questions they ask , what they are looking for?
    Thank youand good luck with your Master's.

  2. Hello, thank you for your comments! Congratulations to your son! Is his IBT interview for middle school at Allan A or for high school at Gordon Graydon? Interview types are different for each. I interviewed for the IBT program when I was entering high school.

    From what I remember. the interview was about 20 minutes long. I was interviewed by two teachers who primarily taught IBT students. I brought a portfolio with me that had samples of my essays, but I don't think that's required or necessary these days. They asked me what I knew about the program, why I thought the program would benefit me, what I would like to do as a career after high school, etc. They asked very standard questions. However, I think it is important that he conveys why he should be a good candidate for the program and why the program would benefit him and his future goals/potential career. They like seeing students with a plan or goal, and I think it would be beneficial for your son to explain how the IBT program could help him advance towards that goal.

    Please let me know if you have any other questions! Good luck, I'm sure he will do great! :)


  3. Thank you for your help!
    Interview is tomorrow @ Gordon Graydon.
    Have a great weekend!

  4. my daughter is offered admission in IBT @ GG. We are elated at the same time confused, whether to accept the offer of go for the regular home school. Our main concern is whether she can get good grades to get into university. we shall highly appreciate your feed back
    unfortunate immigrant

  5. Hello :)

    Congratulations to your daughter! That is quite an accomplishment!

    My parents went through the same confusion/decision, actually. They initially weren't sure whether the IBT program was a worthwhile investment, particularly if the program was so difficult that I wouldn't get the grades to get into university. Furthermore, we live quite far away from Gordon Graydon (on the other side of Mississauga), so it was a huge decision on my entire family's part.

    In my personal experience, though, I really enjoyed the IBT program, and I thought it taught me a lot more than other students who entered university from other high schools. I also I found that IBT helped me learn so many skills that I utilized regularly in university (not just in knowledge, but in work ethic as well).

    I didn't have an issue regarding getting good grades for university (although most universities usually just look at your last 2 years of high school anyway. At least that's what I've been told). It was a challenging program, with quite a heavy workload, but I think grades depend more on how much work you put into your assignments/projects (vs. difficulty of program). Many teachers at GG have been there for years, and they recognize hard work and reward it when they see it. Therefore, it wasn't hard getting good grades for many of my classmates (particularly in the last 2 years), provided that we put in the effort to produce quality work. Good grades are not impossible in the IBT program. :)

    I'm sure your daughter is greatly capable of getting the grades she needs for university! The IBT program is challenging, but I think if she works hard, she will have no problem with grades!

    Please let me know if you have anymore questions! Good luck! :)


  6. Thank you and bestwishes in all your endeavours. We have decided 'yes' and accepted the offer. Your suggestions is positively one of the reasons we have made this decision. Iam sure this is an achievemnet we cherish for long time.
    God Bless You
    proud parents

  7. That sounds great! :) Please let me know if you have any questions! Good luck with everything!


  8. Hello Barbara,

    Love your blog, it's fun and at the same time, lots of great information.

    I have a question with regards to the IBT Program @ GG. Is it true that the IBT Program only applicable to Grade 9 & 10?

    Appreciate your honest feedback on this.

    Thank you!

  9. hi
    Some people are saying that IBT program is worthless?Is it true?How is it different from the regular public school program?