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The Power of a Humanities Education

Sheena Jary

What Do You Need?

Sometimes in life, you bump into exactly what you need to at the time you need it. As many of you know, I’ve gone back to school to finish something I started 40 years ago – a university degree. After balancing my options, I decided to take the ENG2RW6, the one required course, and then, after being a good girl, I would stuff my scholastic tummy with creative writing electives and science fiction. Nom nom.

I kinda expected it to be a bit of a slog (required courses can be like that) but, instead, I have really been enjoying myself. Not only did I get, last semester, a solid reminder of the basics of essay writing and a much-needed reminder to slow the f— down while I read and work and think but, also, this semester we are working on advertising, propaganda, and assessing the world through various lenses, looking at established norms and assumptions, and breaking them down. Through this process, we have the opportunity to build a better world out of our clearer understanding.

And the course is going further. Just yesterday, Sheena Jary (that’s Sheena in the pic) introduced our class to the power of values-driven leadership and the necessity of self-care in resilience. Jeepers, would have loved a bit of this when I was first studying back in the day.

Value-Driven Life

We were asked to think about and discuss what a Humanities education can offer. I immediately thought of the popularity of speakers like Brené Brown and Simon Sinek and the relief and insight they bring to folks who are searching for meaning in modern life. Their style of insight is exactly what is being taught right now in courses offered by McMaster Humanities. How much would the average person (and society in general) benefit from learning how to think about what matters to them? Not what to think. How to think.

People need the Humanities because skills aren’t enough to give our lives meaning. Skills can be learned fairly easily. But what makes a fulfilled life outside of our families? Fulfilling work. Meaningful pastimes. A Humanities education can help folks discover what matters to them and can help them express their core values in their everyday life. What if we were led by politicians who understood what really mattered? What if we loved going to work? Or what if we expressed ourselves in a meaningful way, giving our lives the purpose we all crave? What then?

A Humanities component could be a part of the study of all disciplines and maybe should be. These ideas really were what I needed to hear at this time in my life. I expect I’m not alone.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help me out, go ahead and click on an ad on this page. It makes me an incremental amount of money which will encourage me to continue. 

Jacqui Burke is a storyteller who writes and who also directs theatre. Jacqui has been telling stories for almost all her life (if you count the bedtime stories when her child was wee).

Jacqui is also very geeky and loves the puzzle of SEO. She offers SEO optimization and blogging services.

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  • I approached Jacqui to design a campaign website for me as I seek re-election as a Trustee for the TDSB. From our first meeting, I knew I had made the right choice. Jacqui had done her research and came equipped with a variety of suggestions to enhance my campaign both with the website and other aspects of the process. During the design of the website, my campaign team and I suggested changes long after Jacqui had done the initial layout. I delayed the date for going live on several occasions. No problem! She responded to all suggestions positively and made them work, no matter how far-fetched. Her rates were reasonable and very much worth the money spent. I have already linked Jacqui up with another candidate and will continue to recommend Jaybird Social Media in the future. Jerry Chadwick

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Examples of Work

some social feeds i work on
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some recent creative and copy I worked on

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