From the age of 4 (when I realized that I had to have a job as an adult) and 16, I wanted to make art for a living. There was a brief desire to teach but it went away as soon as it arrived, while I watched my mom write endless report cards and spend most weekends elbows-deep in piles of marking. No thanks. I shunned biology, physics, and math in favour of life drawing, painting, sculpture, and illustration. The double studio on the first floor my high school became my home; in 12th grade, I essentially went home to shower and sleep. I was so comfortable with my ‘art life’ and I never thought I’d want anything else…
and then Quest happened. Halfway through my last year of high school, I took a leap and turned down offers for places in programs I had been dreaming about for 4 years so could move across the country and begin a program where I would be asked to do all those subjects I’d ignored; biology, physics, and ugh, math. UGHHHHH math.
It’s been over 2 years since I decided to come to Quest, and a question I hear pretty frequently from prospective students is “what has been your favourite class so far?”
The answer? (In chronological order…)
Neurobiology with Neal Melvin
Visual Math with Ryan Derby-Talbot
Experiments in the Physical Sciences with Court Ashbaugh
Biology, Math, and Physics. What?
I started every single one of these classes terrified of failing, and in a way, it was my lack of background that made it ok to make huge mistakes. What did I have to lose? I threw myself into each class, reading textbooks, hanging out in the labs, writing endless strings of numbers, asking obvious questions, checking and re-checking calculations, and somewhere in between, I found out that I wasn’t destined to be a humanities student forever; I could do math and science, I could do it well, and I enjoyed it more than I ever thought possible. I loved them so much, I’m going to keep doing them (by choice).
The foundation program will force you to do things you’re uncomfortable with. Things like becoming best friends with Excel, things like debating with your classmates, things like taking classes you are convinced you will fail. If I could go back and re-do the foundation program, whenever I had the choice, I’d take the hardest option. The best classes I’ve been in are the ones I’m terrified of. If you have the chance to come here, please, do academic things that terrify you. Take the course everyone is scared of. Do the extension work. Pick something eons outside of your comfort zone. Give yourself room to make mistakes, and then laugh when you realize that’s just room to grow into.