Humans of the PSSA Interview – Dr. Antoine Bilodeau
What would be your advice for a student who later wants to work in Quebec politics or in the Canadian government?
Well, my advice doesn’t have much to do with working directly for the Quebec government, but here it is: stop behaving as if you were just students. Often people wait until their undergraduate studies are over to start thinking about what they want to do, or to start networking with other people. I see too many students who do that and who simply don’t aim for better and don’t proactively engage themselves with the topics they are studying.
With phones and computers students don’t talk to each other anymore. I see it in some of my classes. At the beginning of the semester it may be normal as people don’t know each other, but sometimes it’s not much better at the end of the semester. Because the moments the breaks begin, students are all on their computers or cellphones.
What you’re getting in the university is of course the training and the methodology, which are very important, but that’s only one part of what you get. The other part is the network that you build. The people who are sitting next to you in class, you don’t know it yet, but they may end up positioned in all sorts of different jobs either in the Quebec of Canadian government, in journalism or big companies. You don’t know what people will become and you’ll only realise that five, ten or fifteen years later on.
What’s your favourite music band?
I don’t have a favorite music band and I’m not a music groupie in general. But nowadays, what I’m a big fan of is opera, especially when I work. When I need something smooth, I like to listen to Mozart and when I need a ‘creational experience’ I like to listen to Puccini.
What passions you in Quebec or Canadian Politics?
Well, my father cared and talked a lot about politics, so it’s some sort of national sport in the family. And I really care about what happens around me, as I think that’s where I can make the most of a difference. Some world issues are so complex that you wonder how much you personally can make a change. That’s why I care about Quebec and Canadian Politics, as it’s where I feel that I’m able to make a difference, much more easily or tangibly than on global issues.
I also think that it’s an amazing laboratory, because of the complexity of the structure of Canadian society and history. Just the quest for what it means to be Canadian, or the cohabitation between the French and the English, or even multiculturalism. And all of these layers of identity that co-exist are very meaningful in Canadian politics.
Do you have an extracurricular activity?
No I don’t have time, my kids are my extra-curricular activity! But that’s the best hobby there is anyway.