Two thousand and fifteen has been a whirlwind of a year. From Canadian musicians tearing up the charts (e.g. Drake and Justin Bieber) to getting a new prime minister, it’s been an eventful year for us in the north. As students, we’ve all grown, succeeded, failed and learned to pick ourselves up again. With only a little more than two weeks left of the year, now is the time to reflect and plan ahead. My colleague Sam and I discuss how 2015 shaped us, and what plans we have for 2016.
Rebecca — 2nd year
I’d like to call 2015 a year of firsts. With the anxiety and awkwardness that comes with doing things for the first time, it had its ups and downs. I got my first job (blogging for you lovely people!) with the Office of the Vice-Provost Student’s, volunteered as a frosh boss for Orientation Week and as a campus tour guide for Fall Campus Day, and I started writing for a fashion blog I’ve had my eye on for years.
Each of those experiences provided me with unique learning opportunities. My job as a blogger has improved my writing and allowed me to experience cool events at York. For example, in the summer, Sam and I got the chance to attend the athletics competition as part of the Pan Am Games, held at York Stadium. As a frosh boss, I enjoyed being a role model for new students and being able to quell their fears about university. Cheering and dancing for a whole week proved exhausting, but I ultimately do not regret it. I initially had a lot of fears about it, debating if I was outgoing enough to tackle something as big and loud as Orientation Week. Looking back at the success of the experience, though, I understand that the only limits that exist are the ones we put on ourselves.
The YU Campus Day was a shorter volunteer experience, where I was mostly directing visitors to classrooms and locations on campus. The pizza lunch and free jacket were the icing on the cake (and of course, meeting potential students! 😉 ). Lastly, writing for a fashion blog has been incredibly exciting. At times, it has been hard to juggle writing for two blogs on top of school, but I pushed through and am proud to add the articles to my portfolio.
As for 2016, I have in mind to keep seeking out more opportunities to hone my skills and join some more clubs (such as participating in the personal development workshops SC&LD offers and being more active in the RAK Project at York). I love meeting new people and pushing myself out of my comfort zone, something I’ve only recently embraced. In terms of school, I’m planning on adding a Professional Writing minor next year, so that will be an adventure in and of itself.
Sam — 4th year
Twenty fifteen was a grand old time. So much happened, in fact, that I think I’ll separate this post into two different sections: my school and non-school 2015.
Let’s start with school. This past summer, I was fortunate enough to land a work/study position with the Communications unit for the Division of Students here in the Bennett Centre. Meeting some kind, knowledgeable people on the Communications team, connecting with departments throughout the University, learning the inner workings of York’s social media system, refining the quality of my writing , improving such skills as time management and prioritization, having the opportunity to work alongside professional film crews and photographers and partaking in photo and video shoots myself, I would rate this experience one of the most enriching of the year.
This is not to say that it hasn’t had its challenges. This fall marked the first time that I’ve juggled the responsibilities of both work and school since my high school days. On top of this, the course load in this my fourth and final year has proven far more substantial than in earlier years, requiring a much greater balancing act than before. In the past year and a half or so, I have also had a tendency to prioritize my social life, a habit, I quickly learned this year, quite difficult to maintain.
All in all, though quite challenging at times, 2015 has proven to be one of the most academically enriching years in my 21 years on this earth.
Non-school 2015 wasn’t too shabby either. Out of the blue, my family decided to embark on a two-week adventure to Italy. After enough begging and praising my mother’s cooking, I was finally allowed to tag along as well. This trip was special not only because of the obvious novelty of visiting another country but also because it was the first vacation that my family had taken together in nearly ten years. The Colosseum in Rome, Pompeii, horizons and vineyards in Tuscany that make you think of romance novels, a five-course meal from scratch in a rural Italian village of 50 people (with the help of a local chef) — we did it all.
I wouldn’t consider myself disconnected from my family, but after being away from home for nearly three years now, it was nice to share the experience with them. It doesn’t always have to be as extravagant as travelling to another country, but moments like these remind you how important your family really is. Since returning from the trip, I now reply to about 90 per cent of mom’s text messages.
On top of this wonderful vacation, in the summer I attended my first ever music festival. Bestival, as the festival is called, was held on the Toronto Islands and featured two days of nonstop greatness, ranging from electronic to hip hop to indie rock. Some of my favorite acts: Flume, Clean Bandit, Robert Delong, Florence and the Machine and ZHU. Good times, good people.
I could go on and on about what a great/stressful/fun/disheartening/enriching/scary year 2015 has been, but to sum it up, 2015 was a year of reckoning and realization. What am I going to do with my life? Is my GPA sufficient for the job/route I want to pursue? Is this really what I want to do? Do I shower before going to this exam or will people be too stressed out to notice?
These are some of the questions that have begun to trickle into my mind during the past year. Except the last one. I’ve wondered that since first year.
How did 2015 turn out for you? Let us know in the comments!