Seven years ago, I began my academic career at Langara College, as a student in the English Literature program. Although I had always considered English to be my best subject, my literature courses at Langara pushed me to develop aspects of my writing that I had always been able to ignore. I was taught to clearly structure my arguments; to avoid clichés; and to present my ideas in a linear, logical order, when prior to then, I had always been able to rely on my intuition, obscuring the inevitable logical gaps in my papers with flowery prose.
My love for the analytic side of English Literature led me to the study of Linguistics, the scientific study of language. I transferred to McGill University, where I received a Bachelor’s in Linguistics with a minor in Philosophy. I have now completed my Master’s in Linguistics at McGill, and am currently in the process of relocating to Southern California, where I will soon begin my PhD in Linguistics at the University of California, San Diego.
Although I chose to study Linguistics, I often think back to my time at Langara, and am glad that it was there, and in English Literature, that my studies began. After seven years as a student, five of which I worked as a tutor (and in more recent years, as a Teaching Assistant) in a number of subjects, it has become obvious to me how much I have benefitted from the skills I acquired in my English Literature classes. I also know now, after studying a variety of subjects in a range of fields, that these are skills that I would not have had the chance to learn in any other subject, despite the fact that they are required and often assumed, particularly in graduate school.
Proficiency in writing and reading is distinct from spoken language ability; although every child (given ordinary circumstances) will acquire spoken language without any effort, the ability to write and read at all - let alone skillfully - is something that must be consciously learned, much like arithmetic or computer programming. I am both grateful and, I think, lucky that it is a skill I had a chance to develop at Langara, at the very beginning of my education, before I had learned enough to understand how fundamental it would eventually prove itself to be.
As English is not my first language, taking English courses at Langara College was a challenging yet fun experience for me. I took the LET test four times in order to get into ENGL 1127, but it was all worth it! I am now a better writer because of those amazing instructors that were always available for me when I was frustrated and needed help. They were all extremely uplifting during office hours and so friendly! I really recommend those who want to challenge themselves and be a better writer. I will surely miss studying there.
Langara's English program was a perfect fit for me. The small classes, varied courses, and committed teachers all made for an energizing educational experience. The passion evident in the faculty, both for the course materials and for bringing out something genuine and original in the students' work, is definitely infectious. During my years at Langara I began to see my writing published for the first time, in the school's magazine W49 as well as other Vancouver publications, and I am a working and paid writer today. I owe a lot of this to the perspective, information, and motivation that came from Langara's English program.
I love English and I love Langara. The best part about the Langara English department is how I always walked away having learned more than I assumed the classes could offer. The professors are passionate about the material, making the lectures engaging and fun, and they somehow always have the time to discuss your essays and projects. I never felt like a number in a crowded room at Langara, and the English department’s offerings taught me things I will continue to use in my academic career and possibly forever. I found my favorite deceased author in an English class. I read sci-fi in an English class. I discussed grammar with real people in an English class. Like my professors, English is my passion, and Langara’s English department amplified that passion while expanding my knowledge of English Literature and the English language.
I was in an English class at Langara a few years ago. I am now working as a grade 7 teacher and am teaching my class to write clear and properly formed paragraphs. I often thought of you, throughout the rest of my degree, and how much you taught me about writing a good essay. Now as I'm teaching others to write clearly, I'm thinking of you again. With my students, I see how important it is to give them good, clear instruction and then to give them lots of writing assignments and loads of feedback. As I spend hours reading and commenting on their work, I am appreciative all over again for the many hours you must spend marking your students' papers.
I dropped out of university the first time round at age 19, in large part, I now realize with hind-sight, because I didn't know how to write a proper paper. I found term papers in my first year so daunting. They caused me terrible anxiety, to the point that I left school and stayed away until I was 28. I am so glad I found my way to your class in '09 at Langara. You helped me to become an effective writer and I went on to finish university with a great deal of confidence in my abilities to express my thoughts through essay form.
I now tell everyone I know who is heading off to university to take an English writing course in their first semester and to find themselves a really great teacher. I think having good writing skills is so essential to success at university and I'm so grateful that you helped me to nurture those skills. You helped me overcome the 'hurdle' of writing a paper which helped me finally get my degree at age 31. I got a teaching job right out of university and am so happy in my job. You helped me tremendously to get to where I am today and I am so very grateful to you for that. Thank you so much for helping me and so many other students. You have made an enormous positive impression on my life. I won't ever be able to repay you, but I promise to pay it forward to my students for many years to come.
I want to thank you again for all your hard work, advice, and support throughout the semester. Even as a wordsmith, I find it difficult to truly express how beneficial and rewarding completing your class has been. It's not only equipped me with a wider variety of tools with which to write, but it's also made me reconsider the rigidity that I sometimes impose on myself when it comes to writing. The joy of having put on paper two whole stories of significant length, is so immensely gratifying and I really want to thank you for all of your feedback and faith you put in me to follow through to the end.
I had originally planned on being a psychology major, but after my very first English 1100 class, I was hooked on English literature studies. The small class sizes made it easy to get help out of class and, during lecture, it was a lot easier to speak up and have intimate discussions about the content we were learning. The Langara English professors were always very passionate instructors, providing us with the critical feedback on our work that made students into better writers and communicators. Plus, the content was always new and exciting! I had classes with six different English professors at Langara and gained something different and valuable from each of them. I am now at UBC in my fourth year, completing a degree in English Honours. I can truly see the difference and the benefit of having spent two years at Langara - they were some of the best years of my life.
I look upon my time at Langara with such fondness. I don't know if it was the small classes, the fact that my profs happily learned my name and story, or that it was there that I realized I have capabilities around capturing language.
The intro-creative writing courses showed me that I could, in fact, craft a character. The Canadian literature course opened my eyes to the beautiful possibilit that is Canadian Lit. It was because the instructors' encouragement that caused me to pursue a degree in English Literature, and that pushed me to study outside of BC.My profs told me that I was a writer, and I began to believe them. They taught me the value of form (for once you understand form, you can break it), gave me strategies for writing essays worth reading, and empowered me to know that it is worthwhile to read and write.