It wasn’t just an opportunity that popped up on my Twitter timeline almost six years ago, but also a major reason as to why I probably stayed in school. Coming to post-secondary you decide your own path through different opportunities. That could be choosing to focus solely on school, living the party life, getting involved around campus or working to just get by.
Personally, I chose the getting involved route. What I’ve come to learn from this is that your university experience is shaped by what you’re involved with and who is around you. You make friends, and you definitely make enemies.
I’ve had some sort of role with The Brock Press for all five years of my time at Brock University. Coming out of high school I wasn’t a good writer at all — I still don’t think I am, but I found a fit. To be honest, The Brock Press in 2014 turned me away when I sent in my application. My response to the rejection was to write for free and hopefully get somewhere.
A recent quote I heard has stuck with me: “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard enough.” This quote isn’t me saying I worked harder than others but it emphasizes the effort that goes into being a member of The Brock Press. It’s still crazy to me that I went from a volunteer writer to Sports Editor to being the Editor-in-Chief of The Brock Press for three years.
The memories of being the first to break a story at Brock; running from one end of campus to the other with a hot coffee in hand just to get the one quote to finish an article; working in the office until 2:00 a.m.; patiently waiting on the weekend to get a message from someone on staff saying a story fell through; even worse, finding out a story fell through on a Monday with four hours until the newspapers deadline.
Nothing beats that adrenaline.
We are now at a time when the Ontario government is challenging these student experiences. As students will have the opportunity to opt out of per credit fees they feel they don’t need or use. My advice is to not think about what you use or don’t use, but think about what allows your peers around you to strive. Extracurricular activities or jobs need to be a part of post-secondary.
I go back to my first thought: each student chooses their own path at this point in their life. It shapes their experience, and it shapes the person. There’s no way I’m the person I am today without the experiences I received at Brock, the networking I was able to do, and the other opportunities that have come my way since.
Five years, 132 publications, roughly 500 articles and close to half a million words is telling of my time at The Brock Press. I probably spent more time in the office focusing on the paper than I did on my schooling. Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star once said to me, “you’ll spend more time in that office than anywhere else on campus” — I reflect on that now and find it crazy how true it is.
There are a percentage of students that come to university and find something that they’ll dedicate more time to than their studies. We all find different ways to become successful through our university journey.
For me, it was my time with the student-run campus newspaper — The Brock Press. To the long nights, to the sleepless nights, the journey comes to an end.