26 May 2021 |
Research article |
Life at ÉTS
Enriching Your ÉTS Experience: DIY guide
This article was written as part of the Leadership and Collective Responsibility course offered to ÉTS students in the Winter 2021 semester, thanks to the support of the Jarislowksy Foundation. This year’s theme was: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on the COVID-19 Pandemic.
ÉTS Éclipse Club.
The past year was not great for the world’s students. Going to the campus this winter, I remember figuring out how long it had been since I had last set foot on campus: one year and two days! One might say that it’s a lot of saved travel time. To that, I reply: “You get to miss it, trust me.” I’m writing to you today to restore your faith in your studies and perhaps because I would have liked to read this kind of letter during the past year.
To put this into context for you, I am a soon-to-be third-year student who came to ÉTS after completing technical studies at CEGEP. My first year was exciting in the sense that I had to adapt to a lot of new things, which helped my thinking become more mature. Not everyone knows exactly where they want to be in 10 years, in fact, it’s probably a minority. First semester: I got used to the teaching style, to navigating the Big School and learned how to use the cafeteria microwaves. Second semester: all my friends at ÉTS, as I was lucky enough to make some when I started, left for internships. Yes, I hear you, those who have had to make friends via online courses, don’t despair! Anyway, at this point, I had two choices: I could become a loner and wait for my friends to come back or I could join the unknown student community and see what happens. I remember asking myself: “What if they don’t come back because of a program change or just because it wasn’t for them? Well, who am I attending university for? For my friends? No, I’m here for me. I’m the one who will benefit from this learning.” So I plunged in!
We often talk about school prestige, teaching quality or the number of parties, but if you ask me, what defines a university is student life. It is students, like you and me, who define it. So, if you think it’s missing a bit of blue, you add a little blue. It’s the students’ expectations that have a snowball effect, and it’s how projects get completed. On the subject of education, academic fields are governed by professional bodies or corporations to ensure the quality of engineering and other programs, regardless of the institution. Did I choose the right university? Is the other one better? I don’t know many people who have tried more than one university before making their choice. In any case, results are likely to be similar.
As for the program, only time will tell if it was the right one. We are taught how to learn. So nothing is lost: the word reorientation was not invented for nothing. However, what we do control is how we spend our time during our studies. And you know what’s more rewarding than university courses, let alone achieving your potential? It’s student life: getting involved in international competitions, events, community projects and so on. Just go for it! Check out the list of clubs and student groups at ÉTS. Note the ones that interest you the most. I challenge you to join one of those during your next semester. Maybe you won’t like it. If so, you thank them nicely and try another one. Honestly, this was the best decision of my university journey to date. You tell me Clubs are not for everyone? I will answer that there are all kinds of clubs for all kinds of students. You’ll learn to collaborate with like-minded students in an inspiring environment, all this to achieve exciting goals without the heavy burden of responsibilities and commitment that you would encounter in a company. If only to take your mind off your classes, it’s a winner. Mind you, I’m not saying that this is something to be taken lightly, it’s simply a matter of finding one or two that will suit you according to the level of involvement you want.
Have you made it this far? I have one more secret for you. There are other ways to grow at ÉTS that you may not have thought of. Sometimes professors create special projects. They select a few students to help them complete a specific project. I heard about this opportunity through the clubs. We often learn about these kinds of opportunities through word of mouth. Plus, we get credits, just like a course.
Finally, there are outside courses, like language courses and, if you are lucky, a course like Leadership and Collective Responsibility that can magically appear and offer a golden opportunity to get enrichment and get involved in different fields related to your studies. Renowned speakers, tough questions and memorable discussions. That’s for those who feed three times a day on enrichment, but if you’ve made it this far, it may be because you’re one of those!