Guest Column: Resolute advice from a MRU grad
Ah, New Year’s eve.
Perhaps the only holiday from which our society routinely emerges with both a hangover and a renewed sense of optimism.
If you’re anything like me, you didn’t so much make resolutions as you did mull over possible life goals after watching a particularly inspiring episode of Degrassi Junior High. If that sounds like you, we’ve got some work to do.
Last November, I graduated from Mount Royal University.
When I flipped that tassel to the other side of my flat hat, it signified the end of university, yes. But I left with more than an education. I left after experiencing university+.
Yeah, I made up that term, but it’s an important concept to consider, particularly if you halfheartedly promised yourself to “study harder” or “be more outgoing” in 2012.
University+ implies that once you’ve served your time at Mount Royal, you’re not going to be just another person with a line on your resume that says you were able to hack it out in those hallways for four (or five… or six) years without failing.
Believe it or not, if you want to get a job out of school that will lead into a happy career, you’re really going to have to do more than show up to class and turn in decent essays about feminism/fluoride/forensics.
I don’t have all the answers, but since it’s the season of resolutions, I recommend you consider the following upgrades as you begin this new semester.
Build relationships with your professors. If you’re in a program where you see the same profs on a regular basis, don’t take this familiarity for granted; give instructors reasons to remember you.
And if you’re not in a program with a core group of profs, you’ll have to make an effort to latch onto those who have inspired you.
In either case, you can heed the following. Ask for help when you need it: I never had a prof who declined to help me. You’ll learn better, care more about the class and I’ll guarantee you get a better grade.
Communicate with them like you do with your friends. If prof is someone who you like and who will be an asset when you begin looking for a job, be professional and friendly, not stilted or shy, when you communicate via email or face-to-face.
Also, study outside of your assignments. It doesn’t have to be onerous—just keep an eye out for news articles on subjects of interest. When you read about a dying language, email the article to your linguistics prof and start a conversation about it. When you hear that Alberta emergency rooms are backed up, ask your nursing prof how she would deal with the problem.
All of the above applies to your peers too, especially those looking to enter the same industry as you. Sure, they can blend into a bar crowd on a Saturday night, but that doesn’t take away from how valuable they’ll be in recommending you for jobs.
More than that, they’ll be someone for you to commiserate with when both of you are navigating the choppy waters of the post-university+ years. And believe me, you’ll need it.