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There’s gotta be more to life

Sofia Hashi | Fulcrum Staff

LISTING WHAT THE Fulcrum has taught me would be a laborious task, but I’ve never been one to back down from a challenge. My time at the University of Ottawa’s student-run, English-language paper has taught me to always use an Oxford comma, enlightened me on the differences between an em and an en dash, and made me aware of the Canadian Press Stylebook and the Canadian Press Caps and Spelling. But apart from all the grammar help, the Fulcrum has taught me valuable lessons that can’t be learned in a classroom.

In one of our articles this week, the editors were asked to share with first-year students things they wish they had known before they stepped onto the U of O’s campus. While my advice was a simple “go to class,” there’s definitely more wisdom I’d like to impart upon the fresh-faced first years.

Learning in university goes far beyond what’s taught in a lecture, or what is written on your syllabus. It’s about so much more than reading your textbooks, writing essays and reports, and attending your classes.

It’s hard enough in first year to meet people, but exploring campus outside of that lecture hall will help you make new friends—especially if you don’t have the luxury of living in residence. Join a club. Trust me, you’ll meet loads of different people, which will make your experience at the U of O that much more rewarding.

If joining a club isn’t your thing, then try your hand at volunteering, interning, or working. Too much time during the average post-secondary education is spent by students in a classroom or library. It’s time to step out of your comfort zone and work. You’ll gain valuable hands-on experience that will give you an advantage when you join the workforce after graduating. And don’t wait until next summer to start. There are a few jobs and internships available during the school year. You’ll not only learn how to manage your time efficiently, but also find out what you like and don’t like to do before you graduate.

As a wannabe future journalist working at the Fulcrum, I’ve met an awesome group of people and learned valuable skills, like how to attend school full time and work a job that has full-time hours, how to deal with an insane amount of pressure, and, most importantly, how to deal with criticism, be it from the public or from my colleagues. These are all lessons I couldn’t have learned inside a classroom; they turn into the kind of wisdom you get without worrying about your GPA. And while I would obviously tell any first year to go to class, I would also tell them that if the opportunity arises, try to learn outside of a classroom. I mean, let’s face it, you can’t put a price—or a grade value—on experience.