University is a time to think for yourself

(Graphic by Wade Thompson).

You’ve been on this campus, what, 20 minutes? A day? Two? It’s probably a safe bet you’ve had at least 50 people in different-coloured t-shirts, who are way too energetic for 9 a.m., yell why their group is the best one on campus and why you should join, RIGHT NOW!

All the while, you’re probably thinking, “I just want to get to my room and get rid of my parents.”

Well, I hate to tell you, but having people try to coax you into joining their group is something you’ll have to get used to at Wilfrid Laurier University— a little more so than what I’ve seen at other universities.

Before I go any further, I want to make it perfectly clear, I am not, in any way, arguing against volunteering and getting involved during university.

That might be just a tad, hypocritical given that I started volunteering with The Cord during the first week of my first-year and have systematically allowed it to dominate my life over the past five years.

In fact, finding something that you truly love to do can be one of the best things you can do with your time on this campus. I can say with 100 per cent certainty my university experience wouldn’t have been half as rewarding or memorable had I not been handed a bottle opener by The Cord’s Editor-in-Chief at the Get Involved Fair during O-Week 2008.

The key part of that statement, however, can be boiled down to one simple word: you. In the broadest of terms, that’s what your university experience is all about, “you”. You’re no longer under the thumb of your parents, you’re (mostly) free of the same pressures of your high school peer group and you have more opportunity to find out who you really are as a person than almost any other time in your life.

This is your chance to figure out who you want to be as a person, so don’t let someone else do it for you.

Far too often around this campus, I see people bend their actions and personalities to go along with what they think is expected of them.

They abandon all independent thinking and surrender to simple “group-think,” letting others shape their university experience.

Yes, university is a chance for you to start on a path that you may follow for the rest of your life. But that path doesn’t have to start the second you walk on campus.

Maybe you’ll be like me and by sheer luck, find what you want to do with the rest of your life through something as simple as being handed a bottle opener. Maybe it’ll take a little longer.

You’re going to have a lot of things thrown at you this week, but don’t feel like you need to get involved with a particular organization or align yourself with a particular group, just because they tell you to.

Above all else, only you can decide what is best for you.

So if you don’t want to give half the money you made this summer to Shinerama, it doesn’t make you a bad person. If you don’t feel like getting drunk every night, it doesn’t mean you’ll never make friends. If you don’t want to become a cynical asshole, it doesn’t mean you can’t volunteer with The Cord.

It is true that there is no shortage of things to get involved in at Laurier. But what really matters is choosing the opportunity that’s right for you. Not the one that yells the loudest.

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