I came to Queen's for the quality and size of the community. I had envisioned myself as a Doctors Without Borders physician but immediately flunked out of calculus so happily became a History and Political Studies major. Taking Latin American history with Dr. Catherine Legrand in 1986-87 sealed the deal.
I attended her retirement party in Montreal in 2019!
I felt seen as an individual and supported throughout my time with Queen's History. I was happy with my choices of the then requisite Canadian history and pre-1800 history courses and otherwise was able to focus on my areas of interest, which complemented my Political Studies and Spanish courses and campus activism really well.
I went on to an MA/PhD in Latin American and Caribbean history, with a focus on 20th century colonialism, nationalism, gender, and race, so all my History and Political Studies courses prepared me super well. Doing grad school in the US required some adaptation to a slightly different set of questions and approaches, but Queen's History prepared me for success with enormous exposure to relevant historiography, tons of experience with small seminar discussion, and with primary research.
Some of my fondest memories at Queen's:
Bryan Palmer rewarded the top six midterm students in Canadian Working-Class History with a bottle each from a six pack. I like to think he didn't know the beer had gone skanky already! Studying Slavery and Emancipation with David Eltis was a blockbuster experience. Catherine Legrand let me into her grad class in my 3rd year and was a generous thesis advisor in my last year.
George Rawlyk encouraged me to take the GRE and consider going to the US for grad school. The anti-apartheid and feminist movements were really important parts of my experience, as was participating in Canadian Crossroads International, through which I went to Belize, which then became the focus of my graduate research and first publications.
Now that I'm a History prof, and chair of my Department, I'm laser focused just like the Queen's History Department on showing students just how broad a range of careers can flow from a History degree. The core skills of close critical reading, discussion, writing, research, and presentation are infinitely applicable, and the questioning, evidence-seeking, argument-making instincts of the History major are vital to constantly renewing and strengthening democracy. If you like studying History, do it, knowing that you'll be well equipped to craft a rewarding career and life!