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Nigel Finch: King’s English Student Rep

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Western chapter.

Age: 22

Year: Fourth

Program: English Language and Literature (Honour’s Specialization)

Hometown: Thamesford, Ontario


Tell us about yourself and all of the things you do at King’s University College.

Well, I am a fourth-year student (I can’t believe it’s almost over) doing an Honour’s Specialization in English. I have been riding horses competitively (and for enjoyment) since I was eight years old, I think dogs are basically the greatest creatures on the earth, and, in case there are any Harry Potter nerds out there, I am a Ravenclaw (according to Pottermore, anyway)! As for King’s, I am an Academic mentor with KAMP (King’s Academic Mentoring Program), and I am also a member of the student council (I am the English Representative).


Why did you choose to attend King’s?

I have never really been comfortable with the idea of having HUGE classes, and King’s has such a nice environment that I fell in love with it the moment I stepped foot on campus when I came to one of their open houses. The small class sizes and the friendly campus has been something that I have enjoyed for the past four years.


This year you’ve taken on the role as English Student Representative. How did you learn about applying to the position?

This was one of those odd situations. At the beginning of the year, I just happened to be standing near two English professors who had suddenly realized that they didn’t have an English Rep, and I happened to make eye contact at that very moment. But after talking to them about it, it seemed as though it would be a cool opportunity so I applied for the position and ended up getting it around late September.


Do you think having student representatives on the Student Council is effective in representing the wants and needs of the student body?

To be honest, I really can’t imagine the council without the student representatives. I am not sure of the exact number but around half of the council is made up of faculty reps. Like all government, it might not always be the most perfect of ‘institutions’ but I certainly think it is beneficial to have student representatives on the council. Students should have a say in what happens on campus and I think student representatives are a good way of trying to give the student body a voice.


What challenges have you faced as an English student rep?

Definitely, the greatest challenge I have faced is trying to get speakers. It was my goal to have a really great speaker come in this year but I had an incredibly difficult time doing that; definitely more difficult than I was anticipating. At first, it was a challenge just trying to find someone who had the time. I asked authors like Margaret Atwood, Emma Donoghue, and Lawrence Hill but they were all unavailable and then I finally found a really great speaker, comic book artist Scott McCloud, but the council didn’t think we could afford it this year. It was a big disappointment for sure.


What are your goals for the English department as a student rep? Do you have any big plans in the works?

I will be partnering with the Write Place this year to have a wine and cheese night. But I have been talking with a few people to make sure that Scott McCloud will be able to come next year! I am really excited about this because he is work is just fantastic and judging by the few email conversations I have had with him he seems like a really cool guy!

There are several negative associations attached to an English degree (and the liberal arts in general). What made you pursue English? Do you believe an English degree goes underappreciated?

Oh, there is no doubt about that. I pursued English because it was always my favourite subject in high school—I loved to write and to read. But once I got into university, I realized that English is much more than just reading a lot of books and writing a lot of essays; in fact, I can’t imagine what non-English students do all day (I say this realizing that most non-English students haven’t a clue what we do all day either). Our society is putting an increasing amount of importance on math and sciences which is really detrimental to English and the liberal arts, and it is leading to a poor (and unfortunate) attitude towards these areas of study. Don’t get me wrong, I think that STEM is great and people should absolutely be continuously enrolling in these programs but that should not come at the cost of the liberal arts. Just the other day I was speaking to an uncle of mine, who is an engineer, and you could tell just by the look on his face that he thought I was wasting my time studying English. But the truth is, students of the liberal arts learn to think and read critically, write persuasively (and creatively), plus we can speak well and confidently in front of crowds. And, sorry to step on the soap box but I just really want to say this, around 60% of English students end up in professional schools like law or business! English is more than just teaching.


What are your hobbies outside of school?

Well, I love to ride horses, play soccer, read, and watch movies.

Favourite music to listen to?

I love all sorts of music, but if I was to pick a favourite artist I would say Adele because, well, she’s Adele! I also really love Hozier—I just love how full his music sounds.


You’re a huge movie-buff. What’s your favourite film(s) and why?

Oh God, that is such a hard question! I can never really answer what my favourite film is because it changes, but if I had to pick one I would probably say Million Dollar Baby. I just think this film is a masterpiece. It’s about a woman who dreams of becoming a boxer and training with a great old trainer who “doesn’t train girls.” At first, it seems as though this movie is your typical underdog sports movie; you can practically check off the boxes as you watch it, but then it has probably the most shocking twist that I have ever seen in a movie. This film is intense, funny, heartwarming, heartbreaking, and entertaining. I could gush about this movie forever; everyone just needs to see it!


As an upcoming graduate, do you have any advice for those beginning their university journey?

I remember getting ready to go to university when I was in grade 12 and all the teachers trying to scare us by telling us that university professors don’t care about us, it’s hard, and we should be afraid of it, but the truth is this is just not helpful at all! I’m not sure how original this advice is, but I think incoming students should remember to breathe! It is different from high school, but as long as you take time to stay on top of assignments it will be fine. And most importantly, work hard but also have fun and enjoy it because four years goes by in the blink of an eye.

Chapter Advisor for Her Campus and Junior Editor/Writer for Her Campus at Western. You can typically find me in the world of English literature.
This is the contributor account for Her Campus Western.