Photo of Patrick Weller

Patrick Weller

Degrees:Bachelor of Arts Honours in History (June 2021)

What is your favourite thing about the program?

The flexibility is what first drew me to the program. Whereas in other programs you have your entire four years more or less laid out for you from day one, in the history program you just need a set number of credits at each level with a few courses across specializations to round out your education. This let me both discover and pursue my interest in environmental history. This, along with the openess and supportiveness of my fellow students and my professors, allowed me to tailor a rigorous degree in history to my particular interests.

What will you miss the most?

Definitely not all the deadlines! I will, however, miss making new friends in class, finding out about their stories and perspectives and exhaustively debating about our readings, discussing projects, and killing time before class starts, all the while knowing that we’re all there because of that same burning desire to learn and pursue knowledge. It’s that same desire that brought myself, Bryce, Jared, and Shaye together to make a medieval dating simulator for our digital history project in third year. That’s the sort of thing I’ll miss most.

What is your favourite reading/book/text from the program?

William Cronon’s “The Trouble with Wilderness”

This wasn’t precisely a course reading, but it figured heavily into my research for my second year environmental history course with Dr. Will Knight, and then throughout my studies it continued to inform my thoughts on the subject. Basically, Cronon challenges the notion of “wilderness” and suggests that much of how wilderness is understood is really a social construction. For example, when the average american urbanite speaks of “wilderness” their perceptions are strongly influenced by representations of nature in things like Disney movies. For a farmer, or person living in a rural area, or better yet historically speaking, wilderness has meant many different things at many different times. This is to say that when current discourses speak about wilderness, we must examine precisely what is meant in that context and at that time.

What’s next for you?

That’s a damn good question! For now, I’m leaving school, at least until we have this pandemic well and truly behind us. For the moment, I will be continuing to work as a full time canoe ranger in Algonquin Park from April to November and during the winter I want to improve my writing skills and complete a historical fiction I’m working on that tells the story of two canoe rangers in the 1920’s in Algonquin Park. While doing that, I’m also planning on starting a woodworking business on the side, so if anybody wants a paddle, bow, or tool handle made, I’m your guy. And finally, who knows? In a couple years there are some good odds that I might just find myself back here at Carleton doing a Master’s. If that’s the case, I’ll be looking forward to the reunion! Thanks Carleton, it’s been a good one.