Getting involved outside of the classroom

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This is a picture of my wall at home chronicling my four years at UTM. I’ve collected name tags, pictures, awards, and my 480 poster. – Addy Badal (BCom, 2019)

Have you ever wondered why so many people get involved on campus? You also might wonder how those people manage to juggle their academic schedule with their extracurricular activities.

My goal, by the end of this post, is to convince you why it is important to get involved on campus. But I won’t bore you with the stats of why getting involved is good for you. Getting involved is not just about acquiring skills or experience. It is so much more. But don’t take my word for it. I’ve asked some of my good friends to weigh in…

Why did you get involved on campus?

I was very fearful about not having a job at the end of my four years as an undergraduate. I looked up to 4th-years who had job offers to see how they got there. It was clear that getting involved played a big role in it. Once I tried it out for myself, I noticed that my academic performance improved, and that I had a confidence boost. Most importantly, I started to learn and grow as a person, both professionally and personally.” – B.G.

“I got involved on campus because I wanted to make an impact and provide students with the opportunity to do something exciting through the many events that are offered at UTM. Having experienced first-hand how daunting meeting new people can be and knowing that other students feel the same way, I wanted to help break the mould. I wanted to be able to experience what it felt like to be a part of a community that had an impact.” – M.A.

What is your best memory about being involved?

BizFrosh, when we all did our team chants. Seeing all of the students together, first-year students and seniors alike really drove home how much we can accomplish when we work together. We are helping first-year students have an amazing university career by connecting them with people they otherwise would not have met had they not attended our event.” – M.A.

My best memories are of the two very close friends I made through being involved on campus. If I didn’t participate in extracurricular activities, I wouldn’t have met them.” – Y.S.

University is not only about professional growth but also personal. It’s about figuring out who you truly are. My best memory is of working with a team leader who pushed me out of my comfort zone and made a tremendous impact on who I am today. I still remember our biweekly check-in sessions where we talked about everything from A to Z, and I got the chance to make an amazing lifelong friend!” – B.G.

Is there a downside to being involved on campus?

I had to sacrifice my studies a bit because some of my time had to be devoted to extracurricular activities. In hindsight, if I had spent all my time studying instead, my grades might have been a bit better but I wouldn’t have learned or acquired the skill set I have today.” – Q.N.

The worst situation I got myself involved in was having work and an event at the same time. Luckily, the situation only happened once. I made it a priority to manage my schedule and to make sure there is no overlap between work, school and my extracurricular activities. There were stressful occasions but staying organized helped me see the tasks in smaller blocks.” – M.A.

Sometimes when you want to attend many events or you are involved in planning an event, it can be overwhelming. You have to learn how to balance schoolwork and extracurricular activities. It’s not that easy and sometimes the stress gets to you because you don’t want your grades to drop.” – J.D.

If you had one piece of advice you would like to tell others, what would it be?

Don’t compare your journey with others, draw inspiration from them. You’ll always find someone successful at your school or on the web. Comparing yourself to them will only cause anxiety and stress. Instead, look at the certain qualities of that person you admire such as work ethic, time management, or community involvement, and try to replicate that in your own life in whatever capacity that may be, and put your personal spin on it.” – M.A.

I would tell people to not be afraid, to take risks and ask questions when you are not sure. Simply going to class and going home after is not going to gain you anything. Going to events, participating in clubs, and making new friends is how you truly learn the soft skills you need to be able to get a job and be successful in any field. Being involved has helped me build strong connections, increased my confidence, and has created amazing memories which I can look back on for years.” – S.R.

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable because this is where the learning happens. University is all about taking risks, growing as a person and learning as much as you can. By the end of the four years, you want to walk out of UTM being confident, proud and happy about the person who you have become. This will happen when you start taking risks, and saying yes to opportunities.” – B.G.

If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?

I wouldn’t change a single thing. Every moment of my time in student clubs was enjoyable, and every mistake I made taught me something valuable. I took advantage of as much as I could. There is nothing I’d alter if I went back. I would just enjoy the ride again.” – Anonymous

No regrets.

That was my motto going into university. The stress of organizing the Dodge for the Cure, the wholesome talks with CSE co-workers, the projects that we stayed up until 4 a.m. finishing up because we were all busy, all the running around during RSM, the sense of pride when you see your mentees succeed, and realizing, wow, that was a hell of a ride. And it was all worth it!

I want to thank the following people for their contributions to this post: Moiz Ahmed, Sabrina Rodgers, Bipasha Gandhi, Jasleen Dorga, Minal Ghayur, Yoshita Sehjpal, Queenny Nguy.

Addy Badal,
BCom, 2019

 

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