Chrissy Robillard: Looking Back at Her Time at McGill

Chrissy Robillard is completing her final year at McGill this year in honours psychology in the Faculty of Science. She grew up in Victoria, BC but Montreal has been her second home for the past four years. I asked her about her time at McGill, looking back and what she's working towards after graduation.

Emily Van De Loo for Her Campus McGill (HC McGill): How did you decide to come to McGill?

Chrissy Robillard (CR): I was born in Montreal, but moved to British Columbia at a very young age because my dad was in the Navy and got posted to Victoria. I loved BC, but I was always curious about what living in Montreal would be like, especially since a lot of my family still lived there. When I was in the process of deciding where I wanted to attend university, my dad retired from the Navy and decided to move back to Montreal. I saw this as a good opportunity to finally live in Montreal, and having family support here was a major driving force in my decision to attend McGill.

HC McGill: What was your plan when you got here? How has it changed, if at all?

CR: I was originally planning on majoring in psychology and pursuing medical school, but I decided against the latter pretty early on in my first year. It wasn’t so much that my interests changed; rather, I started to understand what different paths were required for different careers. I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in clinical psychology, but I didn’t know exactly how to get there when I was in my first year. I was under the impression that clinical psychologists had to attend medical school like psychiatrists. Once I learned this wasn’t the case, my plans changed drastically.

HC McGill: What have you been up to in your final year?

CR: I’ve been really busy working on my senior honours thesis. I’m working on a project investigating how adolescents respond to bullying, and whether certain responses exacerbate or reduce victimization. For example, antibullying programs usually tell adolescents to use assertive strategies (like telling the bully to stop), but a lot of research suggests these responses may actually make bullying worse for some adolescents, especially those with aggressive or withdrawn reputations among their classmates. Besides my honours thesis, I’ve been spending a lot of time getting involved in different clubs and volunteer opportunities at McGill, and spending as much time as possible with friends before we all graduate.

HC McGill: What was one of your biggest challenges at McGill? 

CR: Probably adjusting to the huge class sizes. My high school was really small (some of my classes had as few as 6 students!), and I remember being totally overwhelmed with the general first year science classes in Leacock 132. Thankfully this has become less of a problem in my upper year psychology classes, but it was definitely a hard adjustment at first.

HC McGill: What's next for you after graduation? 

CR: Right now I’m applying to clinical psychology graduate programs in BC. As much as I’ve loved my time in Montreal, BC definitely feels like home (and the mild winters are pretty nice too). I’ll likely travel between BC and Montreal frequently since I still have a lot of friends and family that live here!

Most of us can probably relate to experiencing unexpected twists and turns along the way, and most people do not graduate college with the exact same dreams they entered with. You live and you learn (more about yourself) along the way.

Images obtained from the interviewee