Humans of McMaster: Lillian Guy
The Silhouette: Please introduce yourself.
Lillian Guy: My name is Lillian Guy. I'm a third year student in justice, political philosophy and law. I'm doing a specialized minor in commerce. To bring this high level philosophy down to earth, I'm also doing a minor in social Problems, social policy and the law to use this abstract philosophy and draw real world connections and implications.
What drove you to pursue all this?
Since high school, I was already mapping what I wanted to do. It really was just a matter of exploring McMaster [University] and finding a program that I thought would keep me interested and excited. Little high school me was very much: "At the end of those four years, I want to go to law school." So, naturally, my program stood out to me. But since being here, it's gotten a lot murkier . . . But I just love learning. I see myself just taking courses for a very long time, as much as that might hurt my wallet. I could definitely be a student forever.
Would you say you're happy with your program choices now?
Yes. It's been good in the sense that I've been able to hone in on my critical thinking, my writing, my reading comprehension and all those skills that are really transferable regardless of the discipline or the field. The pillars of justice and law, I think it's great. For me, the political philosophy aspect of it all is not my cup of tea in the sense that so much of what we talk about is centered on this ideal of what the world should look like when we need to look at what’s currently happening. We can look all we want at what we aspire to but if we never looked at what actually is, we're never going to bridge that gap.
A lot of the problems with academia and these institutions is you're either doing this high level abstract theorizing or you're doing the on-the-ground work but you don't have the background in the theories or the application. I think you can't really do one effectively without the other, especially if we're talking about driving social change. Academia isn’t necessarily built to support that. In terms of [McMaster University] as a whole, there are smaller departments that are driving towards that experiential approach to teaching and learning. We need to figure out how existing students and programs can learn from those innovative departments and personnel and knowledge actors. I think a big component is fusing the new and the old together. Right now, it's unfortunate so much of the onus is on individual people, whether it's students or professors to craft that type of interdisciplinary and on-the-ground approach. But we're working on it.
You’re the Vice President of Administration of MacMUN: McMaster University’s Model United Nations. How do you tie what you're pursuing in university and in life with your involvement with MacMUN?
It all really complements itself really well, both content-specific in terms of the politics of it all and the global approach to issues are reflected in that involvement. More broadly, I'm a type A person — I like to be in control and this relates to my aspirations in maybe the legal field, but also perhaps high level management of an organization or a nonprofit. Managing all the tiny little details that go into MacMUN really complements my academic interests and my personality in which I'm able to put in the effort and see tangible outcomes.
There’s a lot of pieces that have to fall exactly in place for our upcoming conference and it’s really exciting to see all of it coming together. There's definitely something for everyone. When people think about Model UN, they think it's very rigid. For the conference, we want to give people with all sorts of interests a place where they feel like they can succeed and have fun. You don't have to have taken a political science course, you don't have to be a tried and true public speaker. You can just be someone who is interested in what MacMUN is about — and that's bringing people together who envision a brighter world.