My Name is Marie-Pier and super happy to be this year PISA Vice-President. I am entering my third and final year at Bishop’s in International Studies and Pre-Law. Before elaborating about my time at Bishop’s I wanted to introduce myself a little.
I am from Shawinigan, a small town between Montreal and Quebec City. For our fans of Canadian politics, it is also the hometown of one of our former Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien. Growing up, I have always been interested in what the world had to offer, I wasn’t interested in one thing only but everything. From being a competitive athlete and musician I also always have been interested in helping people. When I left high school, I thought the way to pursue this desire to help people was by becoming a psychologist, all my studies were directed toward that. While completing a technic in Special Needs Counselor, and pursuing my studies further at University of Ottawa double majoring in Psychology and Criminology. After, my first year in my program I realized that as much as I liked helping people, becoming a psychologist was not the way I wanted to do it, after a couple classes of sociology I became more interested about how our society and the people are treated is influenced by the services offered and the way political decisions influences. I was becoming more and more interested in politics and my passion for travelling that I discovered during my first backpack trip a year before. Traveling had done something special to me and ignited a passion for other cultures while bringing me closer from International Relations. Even though it wasn’t clear yet, I knew Psychology was not what I wanted, so that is when I decided to take a gap year to figure out. Therefore, I decided to go to England and become an Aupair. During that year, while being an Aupair and taking English classes, I also found time to explore around and fulfill my desire for adventure. I was lucky enough to visit 10 countries and meet people from even more different parts of the world which helped me learn about the culture, history and opinion of so many people. Couple weeks in Morocco and later I found myself later hitchhiking and camping across Turkey. I have learned to take time to understand a bit more the complicated world we live in. I learned about the Europeanization of Turkey and how it has impacted the life of the Turkish people. I also learned a bit more about the Syrian crisis from a refugee who escaped the war and took refuge in Turkey, hoping for a better future. At that moment, I realized how politics is even more complicated when it involves different actors who interact with each other, but more importantly I knew that this was what I wanted. From that moment, learning English became even more meaningful, and going to university had a whole new sense. Even though I am still figuring out what I exactly want to do, My experience at Bishop’s so far has helped me broaden my educational and professional horizons.
Since my first year, I have found my way to be involved in the department and that all started with my participation at the Political Science games, which was one of the best decisions. The games are a great opportunity to put in practice what you learn in school but also an amazing experience where we get to connect with people from other schools and create amazing friendships with people from our delegation. So, if you can, APPLY FOR THE GAMES!!!! Apart from the Political Sciences games, I have also been involved within PISA as a communication aide and I am proud to say I have contributed to the creation of our amazing website. Along with my position in PISA I was also the Vice President of External Affairs within our Student Representative Council (SRC). This position brought me so much in terms of life experiences, especially my participation in the Advocacy week in Ottawa, which is basically a week where we meet different stakeholders and MPs on the Parliament hill to advocate for students. Being part of the SRC also taught me different skills and showed me different aspects of how to manage an organization. My mandate was cut short because of COVID-19, but I also had the chance to experience how to deal with such a situation when you are in a position of leadership and learn from it. Among all these experiences, I have managed to develop my leadership skills, build a network, learn new skills but mostly, I have managed to shape my university experience around different opportunities by having the opportunity to work with teachers, professionals, and other students. Shortly, I am looking forward to hearing from you or seeing you and if you have any questions, recommendations or comments please feel free to reach out to me. It will be my pleasure!
I would like to finish this article by listing a couple of advice/encouragement for any new students.
GET INVOLVED. Bishop’s has countless opportunities, if you are interested in being involved in the department, the Political Sciences games are a really good start. Beyond the game you can also get involved in PISA, by applying to be an aid, coming to events, or just helping out in different ways, or you can join any other clubs on campus. You can apply to be part of the Model United Nation Practicum (and you definitely should) if you want to experience and learn about the work done within the UN. But lastly, get involved on campus, as an on-campus rep, a senator or even for an Executive position within our Student Representative Council, shoot your shot, you have nothing to lose and this is an amazing opportunity as a student to get involved and learn much more than what you are taught in class.
ASK FOR HELP. As a Francophone, my linguistics journey has been a roller-coaster. As we often find ourselves writing essays as Politics/ International Studies students, writing well is essential. However, don’t worry, Bishop’s has a great network of support to help you improve your writing skills. If you are a francophone, and you are struggling with your English just know there are many opportunities and support for you at the school. Such as the writing center, where you can schedule appointments. If you are struggling with any classes you can book appointments with a peer mentor support or you can even email your teachers. I found that teachers at Bishop’s are true gems, they actually really care about your success and are great ressources if you have questions or anything. If you have any questions, you can also always come up to any of PISA executives, we will make sure to help you, find the answer or direct you to the right ressources.
PARTICIPATE. Our school offers different activities and events to which you can get involved. We are lucky enough to receive many speakers from different spheres and backgrounds. We also have special events like the Global Awareness Week that is hosted every year by Dr. Mckeen-Edwards and other students, or many other events that are hosted by PISA. Please join, these events are always fun and students who take time to attend them always have positive things to say about it.
Lastly, never forget this “YOU ARE THE MASTER OF YOUR OWN BU EXPERIENCE”. Bishop’s is great for this reason, we have pretty much a club for everything, and if you don’t find one, then create one! There is no limit of what you can achieve at BU if you want and have the desire to.