Final Exam: Jian Ghomeshi (Joanne K.; Grooming: Jodi Urichuk using Climate Control Finishing Spray for TRESemmé Hair Care/M.A.C./Plutino Group)
Renaissance Fan

Describe your school-aged self in three words.

In elementary school: eager, enthusiastic, skinny.
In high school: confused, self-conscious, skinny.

What was your favourite subject?

I liked theatre arts and music, but history was my favourite.

Your most challenging subject?

Science. I did okay but it was work.

Your favourite historical figures?

Great political figures, such as Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. Tommy Douglas always sounded pretty cool.

Who are your non-fiction heroes?

Lennon and Bowie.

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

I was really interested in the media, but I believed it was unavailable to me because of my name and ethnicity.

Where did your talents lie?

I was a good communicator — not necessarily about interpersonal stuff, but I could sell an idea.

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

That diversity of interests is not something to lament — it’s a really good thing. I spent a lot of time worrying that I had this variety of interests that would somehow undermine my ability to thrive in anything. Jack of various trades, master of nothing.

Nevertheless, I engaged in many things and it’s that variety that’s really important in the job I currently do. I couldn’t have predicted that back in the day. Now, when I speak to high school students, I try to emphasize that it’s really okay to embrace all the interests that you have. Renaissance people are celebrated.

If you were a teacher, what subject would you teach?

Politics, history, English literature.

Quality you most appreciate in a teacher?

It sounds trite and clichéd, but my favourite teachers were the ones who really cared. The ones who stand out are the ones who understood and recognized that I didn’t necessarily have the same experience as the other kids in the class and that all the other kids didn’t have the same experiences as one another.

Best advice from a teacher?

That critical thinking is easier than you think it is. I had a teacher who helped me understand that. Sometimes it’s just about asking the question in its simplest form. This tends to get beaten out of us as kids.

What’s your strongest memory from graduation day?

Self-loathing, self-consciousness and excitement about what lay ahead. I was valedictorian. I was grateful but insecure about being singled out and being disliked by the other kids because of it.

Name: Jian Ghomeshi
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