Rebecca McConnell, English 115, Best Essay 2016-2017

Rebecca McConnell is a VIU student who is passionate about a wide range of subjects, and one of these is English. A ceramic artist and a photographer who also paints, draws, and plays the ukulele, Rebecca is in the second year of the Business Administration program, working towards a major in accounting.

After enrolling in a required first-year English course, Rebecca discovered that research and writing were newly-acquired skills she could add to her list of accomplishments. The result was an award-winning essay that delves into some of the race and gender issues involved in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. 

As Rebecca explains,  

We had a list of topics to choose from and I felt that the TRC was a very controversial topic and one that everyone seems to have an opinion on. The social issues regarding racism in Canada are ongoing, and at the moment there doesn’t seem to be a solution, or even an understanding of how the current situation came to be.

So, how might one come to engage with such subject matter and produce an award-winning essay in a first-year English course? Rebecca has some advice about this: "Dive into the research; what you can learn is always interesting. And start ahead of time—have enough time to come to a conclusion that you feel is ‘right’ rather than just meeting the word count."

This approach clearly paid off for her in what is a well-researched and expertly-argued paper; and, in the process of writing it, she was introduced to yet another burgeoning interest: politics!

Even with all of her diverse interests, however, Rebecca makes sure to leave room for a healthy dose of popular culture:

My favourite shows are the X-Files, Glow, Criminal Minds, Psych, Stranger Things, and The Office; my favourite movie is Pulp Fiction. I think everyone should watch X-Files and Stranger Things as it progresses—possible government conspiracies are something to have a perspective on. I would also have to recommend The Office—it's hilarious.

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