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HBA · Ben King, Nick Zhang, Brooke Williams and Anusha Imam

Passing the Red Pen

May 14, 2024


It’s only too easy to get caught up in the minutiae of your busy life. From the moment you roll out of bed to the moment your head once again hits the pillow, we’re inundated with tasks, errands, or simply things to do that leave little room for the consideration of others and their own journeys. While the AEO Onward Blog (hopefully) delivered engaging, creative and original pieces for you, the reader’s enjoyment, we wish to highlight the incredible work from our team that makes this possible. Our eight writers wrote a combined forty-six articles for the 2023/2024 academic year, while our three social media managers created the captivating banners, Instagram posts and reels splashed across your feed. Countless hours have been poured into establishing the AEO Onward Blog as a tool of support and voice for the AEO community – so, let’s uncover what that work was like!

Ben - Outgoing Editor

As the 2023/2024 school year slowly cast its shadow on my dwindling summer days, I felt prepared for what was sure to be a busy eight-months. Since triumphantly coasting out of my first year at Western, the rumors about the trials and tribulations of second year fell upon deaf ears. I was confident in my ability to manage my various endeavors – I thrived in first year, so why would second year be any different?

The difference crystallized after the first week of classes came to a close. After an incredibly rewarding but draining experience as an orientation leader, immediately starting classes while adjusting to a new life marked by cleaning, commuting and cooking took an unexpected toll. Combined with my various commitments, I could feel the strain worsening as the semester progressed. As someone who has always prided themselves on their ability to adapt and overcome, I felt like a tadpole who had been plucked from their small pond and tossed into an unrelenting ocean.

Once the holidays had finally rolled around, I resolved to use the break for its intended purpose. Second semester was a chance to start anew, without the baggage from the beginning of the year. I was determined to make Western my home again.

To quickly summarize a jam-packed second semester, I was able to find my groove again and end the year on a high note – and, after my challenging first semester, the semester I had felt earned. I’ve now spent nearly 250 words reflecting on my year without a word about the very blog this will be published on; where does the AEO Onward Blog come into play?

Being Co-President was truly an experience I will cherish forever. I could not have asked for a better working relationship with Nick, my Co-President; I constantly felt supported, and I believe our success as a team boiled down to our friendship. The blog also served as a necessary output for my stress; no matter how tough the week got, I always had a beautiful article to sink my teeth into and make even stronger. I’m particularly grateful for my team this year – comprised of smart, kind, hardworking individuals made my job as Co-President even easier.

Writing this piece has been bittersweet, but I’m incredibly excited to see what direction Brooke and Anusha take the blog next year. I could not be more confident in their ability to take the AEO Onward Blog to new heights!

Nick - Outgoing Editor

Just like every other student in September, I went into the school year with a list of ambitious promises to myself of the many ways I’m going to improve my lifestyle. Sadly, like many other students, these goals like cooking, sleeping more, and procrastinating less went out the window faster than the blink of an eye. However, this doesn’t mean that my year was any less exciting or fun, and a massive part of that was this beautiful blog that I got to run.

Along with my Co-President, Ben, we’ve poured countless hours into making sure the blog was running smooth, from editing each article we’ve put out to hosting socials for our amazing team. All of this couldn’t have been done without the amazing relationship I’ve built with Ben throughout the year – from the full days we spent judging applications or planning events which went smooth as butter due to his support and our down-to-earth friendship.

The team we’ve fostered this year is also one that will never be forgotten, with each writer and social media director bringing their own lovely voice to every meeting. It was amazing to see how after just one meeting, the team had already started hanging out together outside of the blog and asking each other for advice. We could not have wished for a better team, and we’re infinitely proud of all of you.

Honestly though, this year has been one filled with reflection for me, but the blog has always been a place where I can go to ground myself and talk with some of the best people I’ve met. I have nothing but praise for the incoming Co-Editors, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the blog will be next year!

Brooke - Incoming Editor

Last September, hearing a presentation at an Ivey information session about the AEO Onward Blog gave me the final push I needed to submit my writer application. Seven months later, looking back on my first year I am eternally grateful that I gathered the courage to hit “submit”. Becoming a part of the blog has been transformative, and reflecting on my experience this year only boosts my confidence and excitement for what’s to come!

I’ve always loved to write, but despite years of English classes under my belt, I can confidently say that this year has brought the most improvement to my writing abilities. The meticulous editing skills that Ben and Nick applied to our work truly took our pieces to the next level. The Co-Editors allowed me to home in on my voice as a writer, and they’ve equipped me with newfound knowledge for editing pieces in the coming year.

One of the biggest challenges I encountered in first year was adjusting to a new style of evaluations. My high school to-do list was jam packed with literary essays, group projects, and final presentations, allowing me to incorporate creativity with my academic interests. This year, like many of my peers, I found myself hoarding large sums of information in my brain, only to spit it out on a Scantron and move on to the next exam. The blog became essential as an outlet, providing a much-needed break from the mundanity of multiple choice studying. It gave me a platform to write about my passions, and I could not be more grateful for that.

Aside from writing articles, the people on the team were a crucial aspect of my experience this year. Each individual brought a new and insightful perspective, and whether it was at a group social or a weekly meeting, I felt a sense of connection and comfort within our group. As this year comes to a close, I am thrilled that I will get to work aside my incredibly talented Co- President (and new close friend) Anusha Imam for another exciting year of articles and events!

Anusha - Incoming Editor

While I’m looking forward to relishing in the tranquility of the coming summer, to say I cherished the hectic excitement of my first year of university would be an understatement. I was constantly worried about adding too many responsibilities to my plate as an incoming freshman, but joining the AEO Onward Blog was one of the best decisions I made this year, and I can’t wait to come back this fall as Co-Editor.

The blog has instilled the importance of time management and putting my genuine effort into every project I pursue – a skill which is essential for all students navigating the transition between high school and university. While experiencing the difficulties of first year such as living independently and increased academic responsibilities, the blog served as an anchor keeping me grounded. Having a creative outlet and platform allowed me to write about my interests and passions, also serving as a break from the never-ending workload of complex academic writing which comes as a caveat of my major.

I could not have had a better pair of Co-Editors to help me improve and polish my writing, and I am so thankful for the guidance I’ve received. Being an AEO Onward writer has taught me so many transferable skills which have strengthened my writing overall and have since been utilized in my essays, news articles, and creative writing pieces. Every one of my pieces is better than the last and I am constantly seeking ways to improve, a skill I’ve learned from Ben and Nick.

Beyond hard skills, I couldn't have been luckier when it comes to our team. Working with such a lovely and tight knit group has been so fulfilling, and I am infinitely grateful to have met every writer, social media manager and, of course, Co-Editor. The friendships and collaborative atmosphere I’ve seen manifest this past year are what I will strive to foster with the incoming team this fall.

I could not be happier to have had such a fruitful year and strong foundation laid by the outgoing editors, which makes me even more excited to work with such a supportive Co-Editor this fall. Writing this piece excites me for what Brooke and I have planned, and we can’t wait for our readers to see what is in store.

Looking Forward

Looking forward to what the next year has in store, we want to prioritize keeping the AEO Onward Blog connected with Western and Ivey while also releasing a variety of engaging articles. We plan on reintroducing monthly email newsletters for AEO students to ensure that the community can stay up to date with events and opportunities. With one of Ivey’s most renowned characteristics being its strong community-oriented culture and student life, we want to get AEO students excited for what their future holds! We hope to bring coverage of classic Ivey events such as the Ivey vs. Engineering hockey game and Ivey pledge day to offer a taste of life as an HBA. Finally, we also want to produce more articles covering club events and ways for students to get involved in the business community in the AEO years.

We hope you’re as excited to see these ideas come into fruition as we are, and we can’t wait to start off another successful year of the AEO Onward Blog!