When I first started my journey at the University of Waterloo five years ago, I was 18-years-old and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I chose to begin my studies in the environment faculty, but by second year realized that I was an Arts student. After trying out multiple majors, and going through significant changes in my life, I found my fit in the Legal Studies and Sociology department. Once I found my place, I also discovered a lot about gaining more out of my UWaterloo experience. I stepped outside my comfort zone, being someone with high anxiety, and I began to voice my opinion and ask questions in class. I started to get to know professors, and take time out of my busy life to figure out how I could improve on my professional skills. I also began to volunteer and join clubs and societies- yes, all while working part-time!
By the end of my degree, I had developed phenomenal connections within multiple departments, which aided in my portfolio while applying to graduate schools. I also gained valuable experience by taking leaps of faith with events I created within my role in my departments’ society, and made multiple lasting friendships in the process. For instance, one of my most memorable success stories as the VP education for the Legal Studies Society this past year was taking a chance at creating a round-table style networking event for students interested in pursuing careers within the vulnerable sector. With the help of the Center for Career Action, and some creative advertising my event was very successful as 60 students attended (in the snow!).
By stepping outside my comfort zone and taking these leaps of faith I was able to gain so much more out of my experience. To this day when younger students ask me how I did it, I simply tell them that I studied hard, persevered, took every challenge as an opportunity, and got very involved on and off campus. With this, I was accepted into both Masters programs of my choice and will be attending Kings University College at Western University next fall for their two-year Master of Social Work program.
Reflecting on my journey these past five years I can confidently say that regardless of what I remember from my classes throughout my undergraduate degree, the University of Waterloo has taught me valuable life skills and allowed me to grow so much as an individual. With this, I will be able to take what I learned and apply it to be successful while pursuing the next stage of my academic endeavours. To anyone entering year one of their undergraduate degree, I advise you to start early by making the most out of your experience here at the university. Remember: professors are actually here to help you! There are so many ways to get involved (unique to your preferences), and there are multiple amazing people to meet. Get connected. Get involved. Take leaps of faith. Stay determined. You can do it!
LinkedIn: Landon Jennings