Written By: Juliet Goulet
As I sit down to finish up my last batch of Graduate school applications I can already predict the list of reoccurring questions: What are your goals/aspirations and what have you done to achieve them? Name a time when you were a leader. Do you have professional experience relevant to this field? As I wonder why creative writing master’s programs bother to ask such repetitive questions, I begin to formulate my equally as repetitive answer: QUEUC.
During my first year at Bishop’s University I joined the QUEUC communications team out of a desire to finally and meaningfully get involved in my department. Now, as a senior, I have sat on the accommodations, events, and social committees and currently co-quarterback both the Vetting and Communications teams for the 2017 conference. Perhaps my most tangible and useful extra-curricular, the Quebec Universities English Undergraduate Conference has been an integral experience for me, and has helped me shape myself as a Graduate school candidate. I read the application questions again:
What are you goals/aspirations and what have you done to achieve them? My future lies in writing, in a myriad of different ways. Though my passion is fiction my academic writing has helped to shape my own voice, to condense and clarify my words, and to extend my pen to write things that are meaningful. I believe that my involvement in QUEUC as a presenter and as an audience member have both helped me to improve my own writing skills and ambitions. The academic setting forces me to consider both thematic topics and written prose in a professional and critical light. To be a writer you must first live and breath writing, and QUEUC brings the best undergraduate academic authors together in one place.
Name a time when you were a leader. This question is always posed with the intent of letting you flex your imagination; does that time you scooped ice cream out the back of a dairy truck count? What about when you participated in medical experiments? How about when you lead a team of volunteers, or organized and introduced panels? The answer to that last question is a resounding yes. QUEUC is a predominantly student led conference. It is us students who rally together to carefully organize the fine details of the weekend; we have to gather committee members, wrangle them together under the same roof for planning, delegate, oversee, and help bring together every little detail that goes into planning such a wonderful conference. The type of leadership that you gain through QUEUC is one that is valuable and applicable to both Graduate schools and the real world.
Do you have professional experience relevant to this field? My association with QUEUC has been wonderful for helping me to discover my place in the professional and academic spheres; it is a crash course in professional conferences and a small first step towards publishing longer peer-reviewed pieces in my future. Taking part in QUEUC is a whirlwind of meetings, committees, group messages, and anxiety. It is also a brilliantly organized and wonderfully fulfilling experience. I encourage everyone reading this to join the conference in whatever way they can, because you never know where it will take you, or how those experiences will shape your future. As a senior student at Bishop’s it is my final year taking part in QUEUC but, as I’ve illustrated, these experiences follow you forever.