What does it mean to be a Warrior?

Written by Tamara (she/her), student

Welcome to Waterloo, home of the Warriors.

Here’s what you should know about being a Waterloo Warrior.

A group of Waterloo Warrior fans.

As you prepare to make a decision about which university you want to attend, you'll likely have many questions and concerns about life after high school.

No matter how many pros and cons lists you make, there’s one thing you have to be sure of when it comes to university and that’s the campus culture and community.   

When you enter university, you’ll be stepping into a completely new environment. As you begin to connect with your peers, you’ll start to build your own community – creating special bonds with people who are navigating this new world with you. In my opinion, the university experience is all about the communities you build - whether it’s within your program, faculty, residence, or extracurriculars.

Once you accept your offer, you'll become a Waterloo Warrior and be welcomed into the Warrior community. But what does that even mean?

The truth is being a Warrior means all kinds of things. To get a true sense of this identity, I asked a few of my fellow Warriors and here’s what I discovered.

So, what does it really mean to be a Warrior?

Being a Warrior to me is stepping out of my comfort zone to become a better student, but also a better friend to those around me.

For so many students, university is where you find your people. As a high school student deciding on which university to attend, you may have a lot of anxiety about first year. Will you fit in? Did you choose the right university? What kind of support will you receive? There’s so much to consider. While it all feels overwhelming, it’s also really exciting.

By choosing to attend Waterloo, you’ve already completed your first act as a Warrior. You’ve chosen a university that will push you out of your comfort zone, encourage you to think outside of the box and collaborate with your peers to create real change in the world.  

A group of Waterloo students.

You know you're a Warrior when you bond with others over your Waterloo hoodie and catch yourself having to explain goose jokes. To me, being a Warrior means being part of a community where regardless of your background, expertise, or interests, you can find a place to fit in. Warriors believe in each other and strive to be the best versions of themselves. We study hard, but we play hard too!

No matter the situation, we’re all in this together. Something that many Waterloo students comment on is the camaraderie and support of their peers. Warriors know all they have to do is call a friend, email a professor, or reach out to their advisor for support.

And with over 200 student-run clubs, the opportunities to grow your social circle are endless. Our student government, Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA), offers student services such as RAISE, Glow Centre, and Women’s Centre. No matter who you are, there are people on campus ready to help you succeed. We also have a pretty awesome selection of Waterloo swag, including goose gear.

To me, being a Warrior means that you work with your fellow Warriors to build something bigger than you. To be a Waterloo Warrior is to stand alongside your fellow students and support one another.

You may or may not know this, but we have a bit of a reputation when it comes to being entrepreneurial and innovative. Since group work makes up the fabric of so many of our courses, a new invention was bound to happen from all those late nights.

From designing a battery that stores the energy created from pedalling a bike to bringing about change on campus as the president of the Black Association for Student Expression to advocating for gender diversity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, Warriors are doing remarkable things together.

Being a Warrior to me is belonging to an institution that understands university is only one step in my life goal. There are a ton of resources for helping to develop career skills, taking care of my physical and mental health, and so many events where I can make new friends and build connections.

I love that Waterloo is so committed to assisting in my academic growth while providing super important non-academic resources. Being a Warrior is about growing all the skills that I will use in my post-university life.

It’s a well-known truth that at some point you’ll graduate and start a new chapter in your life. Through a variety of resources, programming, and events, Waterloo prepares you for life after graduation. Whether you want to pursue further studies or launch your career, Waterloo will help you realize your path and support you as you take the first few steps towards your future.

Warriors recognize that university is more than just the academics. With our remarkable co-op program and crew of wellness Warriors, there isn’t a worry too big or too small. After all, university is all about discovering who you are and what you want out of life.

Being a Warrior is so much more than school spirit. It’s an identity that connects and inspires all members of our campus to be leaders in our communities. We strive to do our best and support each other along the way.

Our Warrior pride extends far beyond our campus. Being a Warrior means engaging with and making meaningful contributions to communities outside of the University of Waterloo.

You’ll find Waterloo students volunteering in local hospitals and shelters, working in start-ups across the region, and contributing to community-based arts and culture projects. We’re all over the place, balancing academics with other pursuits and contributing to something bigger than ourselves.

A student with the University of Waterloo mascot, King Warrior.

University mascots also create a sense of belonging and community. And while it’s fun to say you’re a Golden Hawk, Gryphon, or Warrior, what it actually means to be any of those things is for you to discover.

No matter which university you decide to attend, I hope you’re able to create and embrace your own identity. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and remember that there are people and resources to help you every step of the way.


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