- Austin Teshuba
- Oct 2, 2019
Coming to Western was one of the best things I've ever done. As much as I love Windsor, Ontario, my hometown, I knew that I needed to branch out and try something new. Western didn't just teach me about business, programming, and lots of calculus; engineering showed me how to be a problem solver, think strategically, and work effectively in a team. However, this pales in comparison to the network that I built, comprised of brilliant students from across the country.
I'm painting quite the rosy picture, aren't I? I didn't realize it at the time, but I got a lot from Western because I put a lot into it as well. If you don't invest in the school community by staying involved, following along with classes and meeting new friends, you'll be leaving a lot of growth on the table. I'd hate to see that happen to you.
Consider these three tips to make the most of your experience.
Be mentally present and try to contribute to conversations both inside and outside of the classroom, especially in Business 1220/1299. If you have an opinion, general thought, or insight to offer, speak up! This allows everyone to learn from your perspective. Plus, you'll get a lot more comfortable speaking, whether that be in class, a meeting, or your daily life. When you don't have anything to say, make sure you are listening. Ask questions, (politely) rebut opinions, or take notes on newly gained information. If you don't pay attention, you're missing out on the diverse thoughts and ideas in which those around you are sharing.
Try to raise your hand once and write down at least one note about someone's comments during each session. Trust me; you'll be happy you did.
Engagement only matters if you are willing to be 100% in the program. If you're anything like me, you'll miss home and try to stay connected as best you can, whether that be texting friends back home or spending an hour a night calling your parents. Try to limit your communication back home however, and immerse yourself in the new people around you. In my year, students were working on building weather balloons, starting non-profits, and doing ungraduated research. I wouldn't have known any of this if I just went to class and retreated to my room afterwards in hopes of contacting friends back home.
If this seems daunting to you, try to meet just one or two new people every day. Grab lunch, set up a study meeting, or send them a message. Everyone is here to meet people, and it's totally fine – even encouraged – to walk over and say ‘hi’ to someone new.
If you engage and immerse yourself in your community, you will certainly meet a bunch of new people. That's awesome! You will inevitably cross paths again by working, studying and participating in clubs together. However, if you want to build a strong network, you have to follow-up, period. Add them on social media, invite them to events, or schedule a meet-up throughout the year. You'll build some awesome, lifelong friends this way and that's more valuable than anything university can teach you. Try to reach out to at least five people after O-Week is over. Even this little step will make your network that much stronger.
So those are my tips! They probably work for anything you start in life (a job, club, etc.), so I encourage you to try these wherever you can.
I'm pleased to be a new co-editor for the AEO to Ivey Blog. Whether you're a high school student, AEO1, AEO2, or beyond, stay tuned for incredible articles highlighting the AEO/Ivey student experience.
If you have any questions for me or any suggestions for content, please reach out: email@example.com. I look forward to working together to make our blog better than ever.
Good luck with the new school year!