President’s Note: finding your place at your own pace

Four years ago, when I began my undergrad, I never expected to end up working for Student Publications and enjoying my involvement with the organization as much as I have.

I could have never imagined the tremendous impact that it would have on my university career, my social life and the opportunities that I have been fortunate enough to experience because of it.

When I first left high school, I was directionless, extremely depressed and filled with anxiety over where my life would end up going and who I would end up being. My conclusion, back in 2014, was pretty bleak and hopeless.

After taking a gap year, and working with no clear goal in mind, I managed to slowly begin a transition into university life after submitting an application to Laurier on a whim.

Starting out part-time in a program that just wasn’t for me, and changing my major several times in an effort to find out what I actually enjoyed pursuing, has been a process that only worked itself out over halfway into my undergrad.

Breaking away from my formerly poor school habits and attempting to be a decent student was a tall task in and of itself — and getting involved was the last thing on my mind.

After being relentlessly encouraged to write for The Cord in my third year, I gave it a shot.

To my complete shock, I wasn’t absolutely terrible at it, and I began to enjoy it. I wasn’t always confident that my ideas were “good enough,” but it gave me an opportunity to share my experiences in a way that was cathartic and fulfilling.

Last year, I took a huge leap of faith (by my standards) and applied for things that I never expected to work out the way they did, and became more involved than I had ever been before.

I had responsibility and expectations stacked on top of me — two things I once avoided and hated — and even though I was stressed and constantly being pushed outside of my comfort zone, it was one of the best years of my life so far.

I had a greater purpose than just getting out of bed, going to work and class and then coming home to do it all over again.

People I respected counted on me. I was able to contribute to publications that I’m proud to have my name attached to. And most importantly, I met people who I consider to be my best friends and biggest supporters.

As a naturally anxious person, I have always isolated myself from social situations or activities. And even though going into positions where I was constantly required to be around new people in various different situations was terrifying for me, it was one of the smartest decisions I could have done for myself both personally and professionally.

For the first time, I gained the confidence to go to therapy that ended up helping me. I felt validated and accepted in an environment where people were happy to see me and I was happy to see them. I enjoyed coming in to do these jobs, and I only wanted to continue working for an organization that had done so much to help me in more ways than I can list.

I certainly haven’t been perfect in the roles I’ve taken on, and as president, I’m constantly worried that I’m not doing the position or WLUSP justice.

I’m still not sure if I’m ready for it, but I don’t think anyone really is.

What I do know is that I’m incredibly privileged to work where I do and I’ve been given a chance that most people in university could really benefit from — something that never would have happened if I hadn’t gotten involved.

At the end of the day, I think the most important lesson I’ve learned has been that, yes, there are going to be countless things that scare you, and you may constantly worry that you won’t be enough — but a rejection is always better than having regret over not doing it in the first place.

My path in life has been far from typical, and I’ve made choices and gone in directions that don’t necessarily follow what people expected of me, but I don’t regret any of it.

Some people need time, whether that’s months or years, to figure things out and find out where they want to be and what they want to do. I just happened to find out what I love doing by happenstance and a lot of trial and error.

This isn’t just a shameless plug to get you interested in volunteering with us. You have value and traits that are unique to you and worth sharing with the people you open yourself up to — so take it from someone who did everything he could to avoid making those steps to get there until (truly) last year — you (and the people you meet) will be better for it.

Whatever your “thing” is, whatever interest or niche that sparks your passion, creativity or fire — try it out. There are hundreds of things to get involved with at Laurier, and you’ll never know what opportunity could come your way until you go for it.

In the wise words of Ace Ventura himself,  “… you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”

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