Curiosity. Chance. Choices. Personal growth. Community. Leadership. These are the hallmarks of Quinn’s experience at University of Waterloo. In high school his goal was to study medicine, but with a brain not wired for math and science, he focused on his strengths and switched to humanities, netting impressive grade dividends. After taking a legal studies class on a whim, he realized the influence of law on every aspect of society and found his calling as a legal studies major.
Long before Quinn found his major, he found his home base at St. Jerome’s University (SJU). At a universities’ fair, Quinn grabbed Waterloo brochures for a friend and one of those publications introduced him to SJU’s small class sizes, community feel, leadership opportunities, and focus on liberal arts subjects – all of this within the larger University of Waterloo. He thought, “Why not apply?” and took a tour that sealed the deal. From day one, Quinn felt at home at SJU. “Upper-year students greet you at your car, help you unload, and get to know you. I was never homesick – SJU stepped up as that second family and helped me adjust. Ask anybody at SJU to describe it in one word? They’ll say home, friendship, or community,” says Quinn.
As a first-year SJU Experience Guide, he now helps high school students understand the benefits of living at SJU and academically co-registering with SJU and UWaterloo. “Waterloo is the big city with the prestige and stellar opportunities, but when you cross the bridge to SJU at the end of your day, you come home to that small town where you’re embraced by amazing conversations with people who care – and are willing to help with your studies.”
Quinn’s own studies have expanded his inner boundaries. “My courses have educated me, not just about the content, but also about myself.” Like an introduction to Buddhism that led to an introspective examination of happiness. “Underneath it all, Arts is really about self-reflection, plus personal growth and learning.”
Outside of the classroom, Quinn got involved with Undergraduate Mock Trials Canada. The trials are “test runs that simulate the formal legal process to give undergraduates a little taste so they can see whether they want this career.” Local defence lawyers and prosecutors act as mentors, and verdicts determine which teams go on to the next round – his team ended up third out of 16 SJU/Waterloo teams. “It was like reality TV. In one trial, I played the accused – and won best witness award for remaining composed and logical, telling a believable narrative, while basically being yelled at. It was phenomenal – and I discovered I love law even more!”
Satisfying his curiosity has also opened other doors. Hearing a friend talk about how fraternity life expands horizons, creates a networking platform, and builds new relationships, he attended a Greek festival in the Student Life Centre on campus. Conversations with Sigma Chi representatives led to membership. “I’ve found it’s a brotherhood centred on learning, friendship, justice, and personal growth.”
Quinn’s also gained additional self-development and leadership skills from being a part of the SJU community. “They encourage you to be professional, open-minded, and mature, but still very eccentric in yourself. To be comfortable in your own skin and accepting of everyone around you in their own skin.” Next year he’ll be on the SJU Student Activities Team to help new SJU students and pay forward the special welcome he got on his very first day. He’s also preparing for an SJU service learning program that will take him from an inner city to the coffee fields of Peru.
Find out more about Undergraduate Mock Trials Canada, including a video interview; SJU in Peru; and Waterloo’s student Legal Studies Society. Or visit the University of Waterloo’s undergraduate admissions site.