Engineering. Coffee. Politics. Friends. Yoga. Tricolour. What does these things have in common you may ask? Well, they all add up. They are things that make you, you. Things that makes Queen’s students, Queen’s students.

This past week Queen’s career services, faculty societies and the AMS have been holding a campaign in the ARC titled “It All Adds Up”. The campaign was created as a whiteboard campaign in the 2014/2015 year in attempts to reduce the amount of stress that students were experiencing with regard to their future. In just a few short years, the campaign has reached schools across Canada and has gone overseas to Australia. The emphasis is placed on “IT ALL”, driving home the fact that everything a student does contributes to their identity and future endeavours.

Looking at this campaign from a student perspective, it is incredibly comforting to see the ways that the school is attempting to combat the strain that students are experiencing in their day-to-day lives. Since we entered the education system, we have been conditioned to focus all of our attention and energy on our future careers and the path to said careers. Remember those exercises that you would do in elementary school where you were asked what you wanted to be when you got older? We have been encouraged to know exactly where we are going post-education since we learned to count.

From a student perspective, this is incredibly stressful to say the least and only increases as the years go on. The It All Adds Up campaign works to take the strain out of this relationship by encouraging students that EVERYTHING they are doing contributes to their future. Rather than focusing solely on academic interests, it highlights the ways in which certain interests like shows, sports and extracurriculars can help you on your goal path. It works to underline the ways in which shows like Grey’s Anatomy can help you to reach your goal of becoming a doctor, either by motivating you or teaching you more about your career preferences.

After seeing the whiteboards posted on social media for the past few years, I got involved with the campaign myself. During my time at the campaign booth I heard one student say to our volunteers “I’ve never had someone take such an interest in my future before”. My question is, how come so much emphasis is placed on pursuing our career paths but there is no support for students? I am honoured to be part of a university community in which the support for our students is one of our school’s primary concerns.

It’s a scary thing to be exiting university and entering the “real world” when you aren’t quite sure what you want to pursue or where you want to go. We are expected to know where we are working, living, where we want to end up and how we will influence our larger community. The reality of it all is that the majority of students don’t know exactly where they will be in 10 years, and in many cases they can’t prepare for where life will take them. The most you can do is pursue your interests and cultivate an environment for self-growth. It All Adds Up has provided me with a sense of security that I appreciate as I prepare to enter the workforce, encouraging the importance of ALL interests whether they be academic or not.

 

Written by Lily Harris,  ArtSci ’17, Marketing Deputy