Monday, December 18, 2017
Last updated: 2 years ago

Last words: Degree distress, campus community and fundraising follies

60% of students in four-year degree programs plan to take longer than that. Illustration Aiken Lao / The Ubyssey

60% of students in four-year degree programs plan to take longer than that. Illustration Aiken Lao / The Ubyssey

Take your time

The “victory lap” is becoming more and more common — and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

The idea that you should graduate in four years is an outdated one; it’s a relic from the days when students didn’t have to work multiple jobs to pay for their education, when extracurriculars and volunteer experience weren’t absolutely necessary because broad-based admissions for grad school weren’t the norm yet.

So, stop putting so much pressure on yourself to get out in four years. Breathe. Relax. Enjoy. There is no one saying you have to finish in four years — well, except your parents. But this is a new era in which employers are looking for new graduates to have real-world work experience.

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A UBC alumnus and a mentor once told me that an “employer isn’t going to differentiate between an A student and a B student,” they’re going to look at your resume. That isn’t to say you should stop trying for that A average, it’s just to say that making your sole focus academics is going to cut you off from a number of opportunities that you might want to have if you’re hoping to be 21 and in the workforce.

Belonging is hard

50,000 people is a lot of people. Add faculty and you’ve got 55,000; include administrative staff and you’re looking at close to 70,000 people. Even if the campus wasn’t four kilometres square, it would be easy to get lost in the haze.

It’s often said of UBC that there’s little community between its students — that, like Vancouver, it’s hard to find a niche to call your own. So anything to break down the sheer volume of people on campus into actual individuals with life stories and hobbies and quirks and favourite foods and pet peeves — something like The Belonging Project — is a welcome addition to the city and to campus.

There have been more unoriginal Humans of New York knockoffs than we can count, but there’s something different about this project. And in a city like Vancouver, on a campus like UBC, there’s definitely a place for it. We hope to see it grow.

Aquatic Centre donations dry

We’re all excited for the new Aquatic Centre, but the building process certainly raises some concerns.

No doubt, the Centre will be a huge improvement over the current 37 year-old structure, and the swim team will make good use of it (though with the talent on that team, they could train in a puddle and win the championship). It might even make UBC some money through community use and renting the space. But when the Board of Governors said in June 2014 that the UBC Development Office is “confident in the ability to raise $2.5-4 million and is working to identify a naming donor for the facility to cover the balance,” how could they have failed to raise any amount at all?

This lack of fundraising capabilities within the Athletics program is a major problem as the administration, coaches and players are beginning to rely more and more heavily on alumni donations. But there’s a limit. Alumni simply can’t be relied upon so heavily — this failure is a prime example of why.