Happy Holidays and Well Wishes for 2017!

Phew! Well, 2016 is almost coming to an end! And what a mad rush to the finish line it was for me!

Less than a week after my book launch with E.K Johnston, I had to defend my dissertation! Yes, the dreaded PhD ORAL DEFENCE!

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It was 2.5 hours of being asked questions about my dissertation. And knowing me, I was scared as heck and prepared like crazy.

But guess what? It actually went really well!

It’s interesting because I thought I’d let nerves get the best of me, like it sometimes does (hey I’m an awkward duck, can’t do anything about it). But it was great. The chair said the defence felt more like a seminar, which usually doesn’t happen in his many years of experience chairing oral defences, so that was a great sign. My external, Heike Harting, asked me amazing questions that I will definitely consider when it comes time to take my work further – maybe turning it into a book project.

And my dissertation got nominated for an award!? Yes, the CAGS-UMI Distinguished Dissertation Award. I’m not kidding, y’all.


A few days later, I learned that I was nominated by my students for a teaching award! I mean, I don’t know if I can win or not, but it’s pretty amazing to be nominated by your students on your first ever university-level teaching assignment!

It’s so rewarding. And it makes me so happy. My DREAM OF DREAMS is to be able to stay in the area, living in Toronto especially, and just teaching English at a university and writing my kidlit/yalit books. I’ve never been the best interviewer lol (on account of the awkward duck thing), but I my hope is I can still get there someday. That’s my 2017 wish.

I got really emotional when I looked back at some of my old writings and musings at the start of grad school. I was very awkward, very introverted. It was SO hard for me to put myself out there like all of the other students who were running around doing this and that. I was riddled with self-doubt and insecurity.

But I grew.

And that’s really the most important thing. It’s not about where you start, it’s about where – and how – you finish. I’m still the awkward duck, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve come into my own now and I feel like I’m capable of anything. I can write, I can teach, I can transform others and I can transform myself.

And no matter how many roadblocks are in my path, I will never give up. That’s what I’ve decided.

At the beginning of this term, I thought there was no way I get get through everything I had on my plate. But I did it. Taught my first class, submitted and defended my dissertation, finished writing book 2, published and launched book 1, had my first book signing, the list goes on and on. One foot in front of the other. I made it.

So my hope, my prayer for 2017 is that I’ll be able to push myself further while improving on what I need to improve on. I hope that for us all. The sky is the limit! Don’t give up, but look towards the future!

Happy Holidays everyone!


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