A lot of people enter their universities with awe and wonder, and exit disenchanted and apathetic (or angry). I will admit to having been one of those people in the past, and I think it is normal. After all, we are paying the universities big bucks to teach us things, stretch us, force us to do work that we otherwise would never do, and hold us to high expectations and guidelines that we would never place on ourselves. It is destined to be a love-hate relationship between students and their institutions.
Although I am not under the impression that McGill is perfect in every way, I have really appreciated this institution throughout the process of my Master’s degree. Here’s why:
1) Scholarship money: it EXISTS. Even though McGill is going through some rough times financially, it is still possible to get full funding for graduate-level studies. This is wonderful. In addition, we have things like GREAT awards and In-Course funding for special circumstances. These things are luxuries, and would not be found everywhere.
2) You can still talk to human beings. At any time, I can actually physically go to the offices of the administrative staff, and they will generally try to help me with my predicament (especially if I treat them like human beings instead of computers)! The people who run this school are very good at their job and really care that things run smoothly, both on the administrative side and for the students themselves. (Shout-out to the administrative staff on the 7th floor of the Schulich School of Music.)
3) Academic staff want you to succeed, and have the connections to actually pick up the phone to help you be able to succeed. All of my professors (and yes, I do mean ALL) have contributed in some major or minor way to my growth as a musician – and I feel honored to be connected to each one of them. My professors and teachers are highly connected to the music scene of 2011 and know what I will need to do to be able to contribute something of my own to the musical climate.
4) The LIBRARIES.
Perhaps I am starting to feel nostalgic, as school is officially over for me and I am just waiting to graduate. However, McGill is an amazing place, and I want to encourage all of my colleagues who are waist-deep in thesis work and administrative loopholes to remember why you chose this institution in the first place. We are very lucky!