Those first FYP lecture memories – alumni reminisce

Those first FYP lecture memories - alumni reminisce

The beginning of term is upon us and soon a new cohort of first-year students will enter Alumni Hall to attend their first Foundation Year Program (FYP) lecture. FYP is often described as a journey and every good journey should begin with some words of wisdom from those who’ve come before.

We asked a few King’s alumni to share some memories about their first FYP lecture, and this is what they had to say.

Stephanie McGrath, BJ(Hons)’99, President of the Alumni Association, Chief Strategy Officer, VERB Interactive

My first FYP lecture was the Epic of Gilgamesh (I think! It’s been a very long time.) I recall feeling extremely excited, overwhelmed, panicked and sure I would be the only person in attendance who had no idea what was going on. Back then, our lectures were in Prince Hall and I remember feeling relieved to find myself welcomed at a table by people who’d go on to become lifelong friends. Of the lecture contents I remember very little (my apologies to the faculty), but my memories of the first few days and weeks at Kings are still vibrant flashes of emotion; having a blast as an extra in Oedipus during Classics in the Quad, falling asleep in the library because we’d been up too late in our dorm room talking, eating a lot of cookies the night before the first FYP paper was due. I hope everyone starting their King’s journey this year will eventually look back on this time fondly, and carry warm memories with them as I do now. Good luck!

Nick Harris, BA(Hons)’22, Rhodes Scholar (Maritimes & New 2022), MPhil International Relations 2024, University of Oxford, Vice-President, Oxford Students Union, Member at Large, King’s Alumni Association

I woke up extra early that morning, “the day is finally here” I thought to myself, “it’s time for my first Foundation Year Program lecture.” I remember that day like it was yesterday. As I stepped into the Alumni Hall, enveloped by beautiful songs inspired by ancient Babylon, I knew this program was going to be something special. There’s an atmosphere to that room. Solemn, yet inviting; welcoming students to take a glimpse into other times both foreign and familiar. When the professor took to the podium, the story began. To me, that’s what the Foundation Year Program is all about: it’s the story we choose to tell ourselves about this beautiful (and sometimes not so beautiful) place we all call home. FYP tells our story, the human story.

Bob Mann, BA’01, Manager, Discipline & Appeals at Dalhousie University

My most enduring memory of that very first FYP lecture (which for me was 29 years ago this year), is Dr. Colin Starnes’ pronunciation of “Gilgamesh”. Every other person I heard who referred to the character emphasized the “mesh” whereas Dr. Starnes had a way of placing a lot of emphasis the “gam” in the middle syllable. This year my youngest son will be taking FYP and I’ve encouraged him to say Gilgamesh the way Colin Starnes did, as I’ve come to embrace it as the definitive pronunciation.

Nerissa Zhang, BA’23, Member at Large, Alumni Association, Assistant Project Manager

pic of Nerissa Zhang with Wilwerth Garden behind in sunshineI was shocked to see the number of books required to be read throughout the year in person when I first started the program. But I soon realized that I was not alone. This unique program attracts like-minded young adults, and I found it very easy to make friends. The first lecture can be intimidating, but the support from tutors and fellow students who are going through the same program quickly eases any fears. We all lived next door to each other, and that sense of community helped us navigate the challenges together.


Have a memory you’d like to share about your first FYP lecture? Email it to Alumni Relations Manager Kimberly Gosse at kimberly.gosse@ukings.ca – we hope to share a selection of your reminiscences in the 2024 issue of Tidings.

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