"To start a new life at a new school will always be daunting no matter where you go. That said, to be given the opportunity to create strong social and academic connections with people from the very beginning makes that transition so much easier. For me, this is exactly what the Humanities Colloquium did (or the HuCo, as we tried to get people to call it).
In any university programme, students are thrown into a constant mix: classes, meal hall, sports, socialising… there is very little consistency in the people they see on a daily basis. In the HC, we had the chance to spend quality time with the same group of students in three of our classes, and to live together. What’s more, the professors teaching these courses knew each other and grew to know us quite well. We became (forgive the corniness) a community. There were still innumerable opportunities to meet other people, and by the end of my four years, I’m happy to say I know the majority of our graduating class. But, to have that sense of support, and a network of people who understood exactly what I learned and lived through, was invaluable.
As you progress through your university career, you will realise the importance of taking courses that are relevant to each other. Course material that stands entirely alone from anything else you’ve learned will likely be forgotten. With the HC, everything studied in one class is reinforced by the information taught in the other two. This brings the subjects alive and helps them fall into a continuum in which no writer or philosopher is separate from his/her historical time period, and vice versa.
Most importantly, due to the special circumstances of this programme, I am still very close with many HC students, and my first-year HC professors are the ones who have shown me the most support during my time at X, whether or not I was in their classes in subsequent years. With students and faculty alike I have continued to have interesting, intellectual, fulfilling conversations – the kind that university is supposed to be about. Join the Humanities Colloquium, and allow your StFX experience to be enriched by it!"
Annie Ewing, HC Class of 2008-09, Graduated 2012
"I felt that the Humanities Colloquium provided a great transition from high school to university. It made it easier to make new friends and helped to develop close connections to the professors. Overall, I was extremely happy with my experience in the Humanities Colloquium."
Kelly Doiron, HC Class of 2008-09, Graduated 2012
"I found the Humanities Colloquium in my first year at STFX very rewarding. I was coming from Manitoba without knowing anyone and having a group of people that you lived with and took majority of your classes together made the transition into university much easier for me. The interconnecting nature of our History, English and Philosophy gave me a deeper understanding of the subject matters in which we were studying, because we were looking at periods in history from three different angles."
Amanda Sanders, HC Class of 2008-09, Graduated 2012
"Humanities Colloquium is a great environment for students to start off in. Living on the same floor as your classmates, studying for the same exams, and writing similar papers produces some pretty creative results. Ensure yourself great professors, classes, and friends by getting yourself involved in the program and getting ahead of the game.
Would Do It Again!"
Kaitlin Taves, HC Class of 2008-09, Graduated 2012
"The Humanities Colloquium was an excellent start to my studies at St. FX. I came from the other side of the country, to a place where I didn't know a single person. By the end of the first day of the Humanities Colloquium, I was sending "letters" (Facebook messages) home to everyone I possibly could, telling them about what I found. It's a rare thing. The combination of academic integrity and the cooperation of fifty students all with unique minds but similar challenges lead us to interesting places, great discussions, and wide learning. Our studies gave me a solid map of the history of the last five thousand years, and the program gave me some of the greatest friends I've met so far. Movies, late night study sessions, endless questions and almost as many answers, friends to suffer exam season with, scholars to discuss endlessly with, and professors who were always available and knew us all personally: the Humanities Colloquium was small, potent, and vast. You may peer up at the mountain of learning you'll do, with intense feelings of uncertainty and excitement, but not long after, you'll have moments where you gaze down from the peaks, triumphant, philosophizing with your friends and professors over beers.
It's worth it."
HC Class of 2011-12, Graduating Class of 2015
"The Humanities Colloquium was a group of friends who shared my academic interests, and a set of professors who know me as an individual. Through my four years at StFX I've remained very good friends with many of my HC classmates, and see them regularly both in and out of class. The professors still take a great interest in our academic progress and future plans, even though it's been three years since I've had classes with them!"
Margaret Werniuk (in London with her brother), HC Class of 2008-09, Graduated 2012
"I made a point of not going to the same school as my high school friends, and the Humanities Colloquium was the perfect way for me to build new relationships at X. Living, eating, and studying with the same group of people was great; everyone knew everyone and when a paper was due everyone buckled down and got it done. There was a sense that you could go to anyone of the students or faculty involved in HC for help. I would encourage anyone considering the HC to go for it because the friends I made first year are still good friends now and my education has definitely benefited from the community approach to tackling material."
Lindsay Ross, HC Class of 2010-11, Graduating Class of 2014
"The Humanities Colloquium program allowed me to take a range of courses that interested me, as well it introduced me to some which I had not considered. I had intended to study history during my time at X, but through the Colloquium I found I was more interested in other courses like philosophy, which quickly became my major. This program is unique in that it allows for a bundling of subjects that normally cover the same type of material but at different times in the semester, and allows for them to work together to create in depth understanding. The Colloquium bundled History, English and Philosophy and allowed for a complete survey of the classics in each area; while we read Chaucer in English, we looked at the corresponding time period in history and the ideas at the time - this allowed for a well forged background on each subject and a more thorough understanding of the material covered as we knew the attitudes and the background in which each piece was published and written.
Further, this program immediately thrusts you into a small group of peers, creating a comfort-level in class that allows for an introduction to the type of discussion encouraged at the university level. Due to the small classes and the continuing presence of the same peers in 3 of 5 of my courses I was able to create friendships that still hold today, as well as feel comfortable voicing opinions and asking questions. My comfort in discussions is fully attributed to this program, as is my impending major."
Nina Azevedo, HC Class of 2009-10, Graduating Class of 2013
"As a student of the 2nd year of the program's history, I thought it was a smart idea to have everyone live together in one residence, but I was glad that we were all split up into different floors. I remember hearing that it was a bit hard for the students of the year before ours, to all live on one floor. However, living together certainly made it easier for us to be able to study and coordinate among ourselves.
The HC lectures were nice as well because we were able to interact with other professors, which meant that when we needed help outside of class, it was far easier to communicate with them.
Even though everyone is a part of X as a whole, we got to have our own HC family within the StFX family, which was fun!
It's a good program for students who want to be Arts students and who are looking for an introductory year to the Arts degrees."
Gabby Walker, HC Class of 2009-10, Graduating Class of 2013
"The Humanities Colloquium serves as an excellent introduction to what professors expect of university students. Informative, challenging, thought-provoking, and enjoyable are all words that could be used to describe the HC program."
Justin Baird, HC Class of 2011-12, Graduating Class of 2015
"I entered the Humanities Colloquium program after many incomplete programs at other universities. At the time, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to find answers to the questions I had piled up during -- and in between -- my experiences at other universities.
I was turning 23 years old when I entered StFX and the Humanities Colloquium. I was classified as a "mature student," and I had no idea what I wanted to pursue as a major. I was simply hoping to find some answers for my own personal satisfaction in order to organize the overwhelming confusion that comes with many post-secondary experiences. I found some answers, but encountered many more questions. Most importantly, however, I found peace of mind during my discovery of the humanities.
It's often said that life ought to come with a manual, and for most of my post-secondary academic career I was "flying blind." I dismissed engagement in the arts because I believed that value was strictly measured in dollar amounts. I quickly discovered that reading about, and participating in, the discussion of what it means to be a human being is the closest thing to life's instruction manual. The Humanities Colloquium has not given me most of the answers I was looking for, but it taught me the value of good questions and discourse.
Of all the first-year programs I've attended, I had the best academic and extra-curricular experience during my freshman year in the Humanities Colloquium. The program is organized by extremely thoughtful coordinators, taught by compassionate and talented professors, and held at one of the most warm and welcoming universities in Canada. I recommend this program to anyone who is either unsure of his or her path, insatiably curious, or both."
Andre Landry, HC Class of 2009-10, Graduating Class of 2013
"I thought that the Humanities Colloquium was a great way to start off university. It made the transition from high school to university a lot easier, and was a great way to meet new people. I enjoyed how the courses fed off one another, making studying less stressful and really helping you learn and grow as a student. The professors play a huge role in the Humanities Colloquium, and they played their part perfectly. Their friendship and jokes towards each other made it a more laid back atmosphere - it was super easy to feel comfortable in class and to be able to speak our minds. I can't believe how fast my time in the Humanities Colloquium went - enjoyed every moment!"
Danielle Smith (at BurMac game!), HC Class of 2011-12, Graduating Class of 2015
"From my experience, I believe that the Humanities Colloquium program is an excellent way to begin an undergraduate Arts degree. The program allows students to develop comfortable relationships with their professors and fellow students resulting in interesting conversation and analysis of the covered material. The over-lapping themes and content shared in History, English, and Philosophy provide for a well-rounded understanding of the development of Western civilization. Monthly guest lectures and socials are welcoming, entertaining, and intellectually refreshing. I recommend the program to anyone interested in beginning a balanced foundational year in a Bachelors of Arts program."
Brendan Morley, HC Class of 2010-11, Graduating Class of 2014
"I would just like to say that the Humanities Colloquium was a terrific experience, all around. It helped ease the transition from high school to university, in more ways than one. Seeing the same friendly faces in three out of five classes made me feel more like part of a group, as opposed to one anonymous face in a crowd of thousands at St.FX. The work load was also much more manageable, as our professors were so lenient based on what our needs were as a class. They would literally ask us when a good time would be to set due dates - based upon our other classes and workloads. That was remarkable to me.
I also want to say that all of the professors involved were always friendly, in my experience. Personally, I always found that they were helpful and did everything they could to make us feel comfortable and enjoy our classes. I loved this program and highly recommend it to anyone nervous or unsure about the first year of university. Actually, I'd recommed it to anyone in general. I am so glad that I took the opportunity to join the HC alumni."
Hayley MacDonald, HC Class of 2011-12, Graduating Class of 2015