Jaime Rivera-Campos

Graduated 2018

Double Major in Political Science and the School for Advanced Studies in the Arts and Humanities

Hometown: London, ON

After SASAH: Graduated from Osgoode Hall of Law; starting work with the legal team for the LCBO

What attracted you to this program?

I joined SASAH in my second-year at Western as I hadn't heard about it until first year. I took a comparative literature class in first year with Professor De Looze which to this day has been my favourite class ever. At his office hours he asked me to consider joining, and after talking with the Director at the time, Professor Faflak, I was convinced that joining SASAH was a great choice. 

What are your thoughts about life as a SASAH student? What makes it unique?

What made it the most unique was being able to have a lot of freedom with how we completed assignments. At first it was daunting to have the freedom to decide what to do or focus on for a project, but that's what made it the most unique experience for me. The curriculum was also composed of subject matter that I would personally never have taken classes in had it not been for SASAH, but I ended finding interesting and thought-provoking. 

How did your relationships with other SASAH students positively affect your experience at Western overall?

Despite being relatively quiet and introverted in class, my relationship with other SASAH students was very positive. Everyone was really welcoming and genuinely interested in your thoughts. There weren't any "sharp elbows" when it came to answering questions or marks; everyone genuinely wanted each other to succeed. I also found that as everyone came from different backgrounds, the classroom was never boring as I often heard answers or commentaries that had never struck my mind. Even when you disagreed with someone, it was done in a very respectful environment that encouraged dialogue as opposed to adversarial debates. 

How has SASAH prepared you for the job market and/or graduate school?

SASAH taught me how to decide for myself what is best for me, and how to accomplish a project with set expectations but wide parameters. For law school, this was helpful as it gave me experience with knowing what my end goal needs to be, but not knowing how to get there. It gave me practical research experience, but also the self-confidence necessary to pursue any project even if I am not sure as to how I would accomplish it because I had experience doing so during SASAH. 

As an experienced graduate, do you have any advice for current SASAH students?

The best advice would be the cliche "enjoy the moment". It is rare to be given such freedom to explore and learn about subjects or areas of art/history/philosophy that genuinely interest you. Some of the work I did in SASAH has stuck with me to this day, as it let me explore not just what other people thought about a subject matter, but to also critically evaluate and investigate my own individual thoughts about areas of life that I had never taken time to pause and truly think about. My only regret is not having been more aggressive with my exploration. In terms of "real-world" applicability, I also found that work or post-graduate school is not like undergrad where you're often given very strict instructions on how to accomplish your work. Embrace the reality that you can come up with innovative solutions or approaches to a project, and that often times, youhave to as part of your job. So even if you don't expect to work in the arts and humanities sector, you should still try to maximize working on your creativity skills as those are applicable to any area of work.