The benefits of electives and getting involved

So, you’ve come to Laurier. You’re new, you don’t know that many people, or the town and after O-week’s crazy shenanigans, you know university won’t be what you expect it to be. What’s the best way to integrate while meeting new people, finding your way around all the local spots and getting the most out of your degree? Take electives.

When I say electives, of course I mean class-wise, but I’m also talking activities that you choose to do for fun (but I’ll get to that).

I’ll give you the typical “join a club” spiel first. It’s cliché, I know, but oh so important. University classes can be engaging, but it’s difficult to really mesh with classmates outside of quick discussions or passing remarks about the recent test.

At Laurier, we have so many clubs that will help integrate you into the student community and allow you to meet everyone out there. Whether this is your first time doing the activity, you’re looking to continue a high school passion, or you honestly just want some place to make friends, clubs here are the place to be.

Besides getting you out of your room at least once a week, clubs foster amazing support groups of diverse thinking individuals who will all consider you part of their team. Many people don’t realize this, but university doesn’t have to be hard. It can be really easy if you take charge of building a good atmosphere for yourself here, and having a group that makes you smile is the first step.

Now, moving onto classes. Beside joining a club, electives are another great way to meet the greatest people.

Elective classes are a great way to lighten your stress load. You’ve already got several required courses for your degree, and you need electives anyways, so why not try something crazy? Now is the time to learn that thing you’ve always been curious about, or try something you’ve never considered before.

They’re also a great way to meet new people. By your later years, if you’ve only been taking courses of your major, you may find you see the same folks day in and day out for four years, so shake it up a bit!

Take an elective to meet others who think differently, or so you can be the one in your major courses who brings a new perspective to the table. Great ideas start at the intersection of disciplines, so don’t be scared to branch out this year!

Electives are also a good way of telling if your major is really right for you. If there are some courses you thought you were taking just for fun and it turns out you put more effort into studying for those midterms and contemplating those ideas, you might now consider rethinking your strategy.

The best thing to remember at the end of the day is that you’re paying a lot of money for this privilege; you might as well get what you can out of the experience. You’re not here for the degree, you’re here for the four years of learning that you’ll emerge with and bring into the world.

Electives don’t only keep you well rounded through your studies. They also ensure that you’re education is fleshed out by a variety of conflicting information, and that you’re the one who decided what the best ideas are.

Maybe you’re more of a literary learner, or a science thinker, or maybe you have a musical mind. Regardless of your discipline and thinking patterns, electives have the power to show you how others have thought over the years, and continue to think today, which is your greatest tool for continued learning through life.

It’s so exciting to be here with all the freedom and responsibility that comes with post-secondary, but taking responsibility over your learning is truly the benefit Laurier will give you. Everything you learn right now is shaping the perspective you’re entering the adult world with, so you’d better make sure that perspective solid, wide, and unafraid of being changed.

*This article was originally published in The Cord.

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