- Abby Maves
- Feb 16, 2021
Never Stay Comfortable
It is daunting to drive through the grand brick gates that lead into the Western University campus. Nerves and a constant fear of the unknown began to set in but as soon as I stepped out of my Mom’s minivan, I knew that I had found a new home with the most diverse and inclusive community to be immersed into. After an entire year at Western, it certainly becomes one’s home, however, try not to get stuck in this comfort zone.
A growth mindset must be maintained in order to optimize what you are getting out of your experience at university. I believe that striving for continuous development is the key to getting through upper years. This approach also helps you to refine the skills that will be required of you once you reach the workplace.
Certainly, the knowledge taught in classes is applicable to your career and the degree you earn will get your foot in the door of future employers’ offices, but it is the skills you develop through your own initiative and participation in the Western community that can allow you to flourish in an interview process and in turn, set you apart from other candidates.
In your first year, it is encouraged to join teams and clubs to meet a new cohort of friends, but it is not often discussed what to do with that involvement in upper years. You must take your general membership in clubs, teams or even in the classroom, to the next level. Take on that leadership role, become an executive, a coach, teacher or tutor. This will enrich your extra-curriculars as you get to encounter first-hand the inner workings of a club and realize all of the work required to host the activities you enjoy.
For many, in order to reach future goals, you will have to be put through job interviews or collaborate within a team. This can be practiced on a smaller scale too, when taking on a more active role in a club, for example. You often have to qualify or interview for these positions, and then you will have peers to work with to ensure the club runs smoothly for that school year.
In my first year, I was a general member of the Western Dance Force, attending dance classes with my team, but in second year, I took on more. I applied to become a dance teacher for the club, running an hour class every week and choreographing dances for the year-end recital. As a club executive, I attended weekly meetings where I contributed to the efforts that go into running the club, having to be especially creative to help determine how the club would be altered to still have a successful year during COVID-restricted times. This has prepared me with the collaboration and problem-solving skills I anticipate needing in order to also be successful in the workplace.
This emphasis on growth could also prove extremely useful as you may be connecting with upper-year students, and even Western staff and alumni, who end up being a future employer; so start with expanding your professional network through a leisurely activity. This is why I cannot stress enough the importance of constantly challenging yourself with a position that increases your dedication, time and effort. In the case of a club or team, for example, the experience and personal growth that you will undergo is unmatched.