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Final Exam

Allana Harkin.

Satirical Specialist

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee's Allana Harkin on how curiosity cultivated in her school years fuelled her success.

By Laura Bickle
Photo: TBS

Describe yourself in elementary school in three words.

Curious, naive, enthusiastic.

Describe yourself in high school in three words.

Still curious. Less naive. Frustrated.

What was your favourite subject in school and why?

This wasn't my favourite but the one I use constantly is typing. I rolled my eyes at that course, not understanding that I would use it more than anything else. I think my typing teacher would finally be proud.

What was your most challenging subject and why?

French. Mostly because my French teacher didn't speak French.

What were your favourite literary pieces studied at school?

My high school drama teacher introduced us to a play called The Land Called Morning by John Selkirk. It was a game-changer for me. It made me realize what storytelling could do.

Who are your non-fiction heroes?

People working in grassroots organizations and many women in politics. We are witnessing great change and I'm constantly inspired by it.

What book are you currently reading?

A Promised Land by former U.S. president Barack Obama. Half of the job of being president is running for president. I have to put the book down every 20 pages because I'm exhausted.

What natural gift did you wish to possess during your school days? And now?

The gift of not letting other people's expectations of me override my own. Yes, I have that gift now.

What do you wish you had been taught in school but weren't?

Indigenous studies. The real story.

My favourite extracurricular activity was …

Anything to do with the arts. It was my team sport. Fight for the arts in your school. They are invaluable.

Quality you most appreciated in a teacher?

My visual arts teacher, Mr. Conway, was a true artist. He seemed genuinely excited by our work. I also really appreciated teachers who were interested in my future. My biology teacher approached me one day and suggested I become an artist for science textbooks. It stuck with me because he had taken the time to notice other things I was interested in. Then again, maybe he suggested it because I was spending most of my time in class drawing what he was teaching instead of taking notes.

As a student, what career path did you dream of following?

The one I have now. I haven't stopped being curious.