When I graduated high school, I wasn’t a particularly decisive person. I decided to go straight to post-secondary from high school because I didn’t know what else to do with myself. I ended up going to SFU because it’s where my friends weren’t going, and my small rebellious streak resented the idea of following everyone else to UBC.
I also wasn’t overly ambitious. I enjoyed doing well in school and in my menial teenage jobs, but I didn’t push myself in the same way that my overachieving pals did. I wandered through my first year of university, trying a little of this, a little of that. I was the princess of non-commitment.
When I found The Peak, I changed.
Writing for this newspaper kindled a personal drive that I didn’t know I had. To see my byline in print gave me a thrill I’d never experienced before. To be able to approach brilliant, influential faculty and administration members as a snot-nosed 18-year-old and having the power to ask them whatever I wanted was intoxicating. Here was something I loved to do, something that I didn’t just want to do well; I wanted to be the best.
Over the past four years, I’ve worked my way up The Peak’s limited totem-pole, eventually taking the newly-created position of Editor-in-Chief. Yeah, I’d say there was some ambition behind that.
This workplace has been my training ground, my friend group, my livelihood.
Here’s where things get cheesy. If I hadn’t gone to that first meeting on a Wednesday in my second year, I could still be wandering around aimlessly. When you find something that awakens that competitive drive in you, it becomes your baby. The Peak is my baby, and I am a tiger mom. Whenever this little student newspaper faces a threat, my immediate instinct is to take no prisoners.
This newspaper has been my training ground, my friend group, my dating service, my livelihood. Now in the last week of my undergrad, I can say without any hesitation that it’s the best thing that I’ve done during my time at SFU. The Peak has given me the opportunity to travel and meet students like me from all over North America. It’s allowed me to take chances and print things that make people extremely angry. It’s let me mess up. Everybody should be so lucky.
Find your Peak, your training ground, while you’re still here. Don’t wander through your education, or worse still, rush through it. Your passion may be part of your curriculum, but it may be elsewhere. Never again will you have as open, fluid, and safe a space in which to learn and grow. With the ever-growing pressure, competitive nature, and difficulty of the world outside academia, that is an opportunity none of us should ignore.