Sharee (Year 4)
What did you wish you knew before going to your university? What made you choose this institution over all others? What are advantages and disadvantages of your institution or campus? List any advice for incoming first-year students about your university.
Originally, I decided to go to the University of Winnipeg because it was in the city I lived in, and I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to do in school at the time. Staying close to home and going to a smaller campus helped me not feel overwhelmed and under pressure. The advantages of going to the UofW is just that, a smaller campus with fewer students than the University of Manitoba (UofM). Most of the classes are all within one big building, meaning you do not need to go outside during the winter or be late to classes. It is in central downtown with many bus routes, restaurants, and attractions. The disadvantages of UofW is the lack of space for students on campus. The dining hall, library, and study areas have limited space even for the smaller amount of students who attend the school. So, I find studying on campus can be a hit or miss. But on the bright side, most of the classes and lecture halls are smaller, meaning less students. This is where it becomes easier to engage during class with the professor and other students in group discussions as it is less intimidating to speak aloud with fewer students present.
What did you wish you knew before choosing your specific program? What are the advantages and disadvantages of your program? List any advice for incoming first-year students about your program of study.
I switched into Rhetoric Writing and Communications after taking one course as an elective, when I originally was studying Environmental Sciences. What I wished I knew about the program before switching into it, was that it was an actual thing! Before this, I had no idea the UofW had this program, as it was not promoted as much as other programs. Too, I wished I knew how diverse in studies this program is. It is not just learning how to write and edit pieces, it is a whole mix of disciplines and topics into one. For example, most courses revolve around rhetoric theories, then students have the freedom to write on any topic using such theories. This gives students the ability to study any topic they wish, and use the theories to expand on it. This is how I was still able to use my interest for environmental issues within my pieces. Too, no one had told me how amazing the professors were. Although it is a small department, all of the professors are extremely intelligent and are passionate about what they teach. They also all know how heavy rhetoric course loads are (typically 5-7 essays per class), and are understanding and give extensions when approached. Also, most of the courses ironically interlock with each other somehow, meaning you become even more familiar with topics and theories. Another advantage, no exams and less notes than any other class I've taken. Disadvantage, lots of reading. However, reading material is normally really interesting and unique.
What was your favourite university experience?
My best experience at the UofW has been the amount of class discussions in the Rhetoric Writing and Communications department. Most classes are only 35 seats, so it makes these conversations really intriguing and personal because there are less people than a typical lecture at a big university. These discussions really helped me process information and understand theories better.
What was your least favourite university experience?
My worst experience at the UofW had been with professors from other departments who were less understanding and less accommodating to their students. This is another reason why I really enjoy being in the Rhetoric Writing and Communications department. The professors are very friendly and personal!
What is the hardest part about your program and what were the steps that you took to overcome any difficulties?
The hardest part of my program is the amount of essays in each course. Because it is a writing program, most of your assignments are essays or presentations but no exams (thankfully). However, this can be hard to balance if you aren't organized or someone with some self-discipline. If you aren't taking a full course load it is much more manageable. But if you are like me and take full course loads every semester, it can be overwhelming. Most rhetoric classes have between five to seven essays per class. So, taking five classes a semester can mean writing up to 35 essays in total that semester, which happened to me. But, this is not a downfall of the program, just the work that could come with it if you decided to take on a full course load.
If you were able to take electives, what was your favourite elective? If you were not able to take electives, what was your favourite course and why?
This is a hard question because all of the courses I've taken have left an impact on me. Though, my favourite course would have to be Rhetorical Criticisms as we would learn different genres of critiques and use them towards our own interests. Personally, my favourite was narrative critique, explaining how a person, place, or art piece tells a narrative and what kind of narrative. I used this critique in an essay explaining how a German museum told a story through the order and placement of their exhibitions, even through the displays they used and the location of the museum.
If you are interested in enrolling in the Rhetoric Writing and Communications program but are unsure exactly what it is about because the description is a bit broad and doesn't compare to the interesting courses, check out the departments blog Raw Communications to read students' work. Typically, we submit pieces that were written for rhetoric courses. This gives you an idea of what is taught and studied, and what may resonate with you too. I suggest looking up rhetoric professors at the UofW and reading any of their published works. They all have something really interesting to say!