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Jacob Sandler talks about first year

A day in the life

Jacob Sandler talks about first year

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What makes English so appealing is that it is not enough to know the correct answer to get a good grade. I need to make that answer my own, both analytically and stylistically.

Finding his individual voice


Spending a semester in Dr. Erin Wunker’s first-year English course was enough for Jacob Sandler: At the end of his first term, he declared his major in English.

“Dr. Wunker’s an outstanding professor,” he says. Plus, in the class of 90 students, there’s plenty of room for discussion and good debates are the norm.  

“I went into it knowing that I really like literature and knowing that I enjoyed studying literature. Intro to literature just reinforced that for me. It’s a great course.”

He also received permission to start Dr. Wunker’s second year Canadian Literature course in his second semester. Both courses exposed him to lots of new Canadian poetry.

“I have poets that I like and I am constantly being introduced to poets that I like. My favourites would be Anne Michaels, Guy Gavriel Kay and Michael Ondaatje.”

Jacob writes a lot of poetry and short fiction himself. He wants to get published and tap into the Canadian writing scene while he’s in Halifax. He started connecting over the last couple months by attending poetry workshops with Dalhousie’s writer-in-residence, Anne Simpson.

“Interacting with someone who writes for a profession, it’s really interesting because you develop this sense of editing that you don’t get in high school,” he says.

But most importantly for Jacob, who wants to do a double major in English and Creative Writing, the English program helps him develop an individual voice in his writing.

“What makes English so appealing is that it is not enough to know the correct answer to get a good grade,” he says. “I need to make that answer my own, both analytically and stylistically.”

Anyone can learn a correct answer, he says, but the manner in which it is presented is equally important. “I love the challenge of presenting an argument in a way that is effective, creative and stylistic all at the same time,” he says.