Emily Hurmizi believes an arts education should never be done in isolation.
As a member of Victoria College, Hurmizi is graduating today with a bachelor of arts degree, with a double-major in philosophy and art history with a minor in environmental ethics.
Wanting to get the most out of her four years at U of T, Hurmizi became involved in several arts groups that added an element of collaboration and community that she felt complemented her classroom work, broadened her skillset and made her undergraduate experience even richer.
“I've definitely learned different skills I would never have encountered in the classroom,” she says. “I learned leadership skills, particularly the ability to organize and supervise and mediate between different people.”
She gained these skills by serving as co-chair of the Hart House Student Literary and Library Committee; co-editor-in-chief for Noēsis, the journal of undergraduate philosophy; co-editor-in-chief of Goose, an annual review of short fiction; as well as a Transition Mentor at Victoria College from 2019 to 2021 and a teaching assistant with the Socrates Project in the Department of Philosophy this year.
“I never had a concerted plan,” says Hurmizi. “Whenever I saw an opportunity that interested me, I would apply. There were many instances in which I didn't get the role I applied for. But the ones I did get, I ended up liking, and then I just followed it through.”
How did she manage to juggle so many extracurricular activities and maintain her studies? Did she ever sleep?
“It's funny, I have a wonderful sleep schedule,” she says. “People always made fun of me for having a specific bedtime.”
The answer lies in strong time management skills paired with a ‘never put things off’ attitude.
If I can break into academia, that would be wonderful. Other than that, I would love to work in something related to arts education or arts programming. I want to be somewhere I can have a creative community, work closely with others and engage with other people's ideas.
“I'm not a procrastinator, so I never had an issue cracking into an assignment,” she says. “When I had time, I just did it. I made sure I always had a week-to-week schedule. I never felt like I was balancing too much. I just scheduled myself down to the hour.”
As co-chair of the Hart House Student Literary and Library Committee, Hurmizi loved working with a team to bring engaging literary events together.
“This is a special committee because of the breadth of what we do,” she says. “We try to touch every area of the literary world from both a professional and creative side. And we try to build community at U of T with people who are similarly interested in literature.”
From professional development panels, to poetry readings, to discussions about diversity in literature, Hurmizi admitted planning these events often raised stress levels.
“There’re all of these moving parts, and you're pretty sure it's not going to get off the ground,” she says.
“But then the event happens and even if one person says, ‘This meant a lot to me,’ or if we can provide one person with a new community, that's really meaningful.”
As co-editor-in-chief for Noēsis, co-editor-in-chief of Goose, these roles tapped into her passion for writing as well as her love of collaborating.
“I love writing, but I really love the editing aspect of it,” she says, noting she relished the meetings and discussions with other editors to decide which articles or essays to include in each publication.
“You also get to work with the writers themselves,” she says. “And you get to pick their brains and work with them to build their story up, which is such a rewarding experience.
“It's such a wonderful way of engaging with writing because at the end of the year you see the published piece and you know how much work went into it and how much back and forth there was. It's something I really enjoy.”
Hurmizi will be part of a new community in the fall, having been accepted to a master’s program in art history at University College London. After that, she may pursue her PhD.
“But I'm not the type of person who likes to have a plan mapped out,” she says. “I follow what interests me and where there are opportunities.
I'm not the type of person who likes to have a plan mapped out. I follow what interests me and where there are opportunities.
“If I can break into academia, that would be wonderful. Other than that, I would love to work in something related to arts education or arts programming. I want to be somewhere I can have a creative community, work closely with others and engage with other people's ideas.”
As she prepares to head overseas, Hurmizi hopes current and future arts students get involved with groups and publications that can help them further develop their own artistic abilities, while helping others at the same time.
“So often, young artists do their work in isolation, either because they're afraid of sharing their work, don't know how to access a community for support, or don’t realize there are support systems in place,” she says.
“But when you take these isolated artists, or people interested in the arts, and provide a way for them to work together, it can be really fruitful. Arts organizations play an important role in ensuring that students have access to that.”
Congratulations to U of T's Class of 2022!
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