Category Archives: McGill

SSMU Elections Endorsements

The McGill SSMU Elections are now open and after reviewing this year’s candidates, here are my endorsements:

President: Cathal D. Rooney-Cespedes

Both Presidential candidates received a sanction this year for beginning their campaigning early, which is disappointing to see from the potential leaders of our school. However, I endorse Cathal for SSMU President due to his clear vision for increasing discourse on campus and providing more forums for students to express themselves. One of his priorities is increasing accessibility and student consultation, which is of the utmost concern to students right now considering the large number of incidents that occurred without student involvement (Arch cafe closure, Jobbook, Rez meal plan hikes). In particular, his unique experience, serving as a Model UN delegate for many years, will be sure to give him a leg-up in mediating with many different student groups, the administration and the rest of the SSMU team.

VP Internal: Kady Peterson

I initially supported Kady because she is the only candidate who came into many of my classes to gain support. But even more than her extensive campaigning, she has a lot of experience in student politics, previously involved with the McGill Daily, McGill Athletics and the Education Undergraduate Society. Her plan to diversify the events at McGill is important and will help benefit our student body.

Finance and Operations: Shyam Patel

Shyam’s experience makes him the ideal candidate for this position. His platform includes allowing students more access to student funds, which will be well-received by the many student groups who have difficulties obtaining these funds. He also wants to include more students in many of the great initiatives such as SSMU’s Book Bazaar which will be another added plus for students.

VP University Affairs: Lauren Hudak

Hudak raises two interesting concerns that have fallen off the radar: the high student-faculty ratio and an improvement in student services, in particular health services. This specific platform will hopefully help her make changes in these areas and allow her vision to become a success.

VP Clubs and Services: Monika Fabian

Fabian recognizes that students need more opportunities to engage with their peers and professors outside of the classroom and this should be one of McGill’s main priorities. Although McGill has taken steps to improve student-professor communications, through initiatives such as the new student-professor mentor network, Fabian’s ideas will help McGill focus on learning initiatives outside of the classroom.

Elections are now open at ovs.ssmu.mcgill.ca

My love of criticism

It is always surprises me when readers actually take the time to read articles thoroughly, digest them, and disagree (or agree) so much that they are motivated to write a response.

In a recent article in the McGill Daily, Ted Sprague discussed a few of his critiques on the articles in the recent McGill Daily and Tribune. Of all these articles to choose from, he critiqued my most recent article in my column, Learning to Network. Although I can definitely agree with his point of view, that a new generation of youth has sprung up believing they must network with important people to gain any importance whatsoever, his belief that this is “selling your soul” is unwarranted. Whatever career path you choose, you will inevitably be required to meet people who have more expertise than you and have higher positions than you. Learning from then and putting your name out there is an important prerequisite for success. The way we should not do this, like Sprague argues, is attempt to change who we are, or become a “commodity” as he put it. Networking can be done by being yourself – and is most likely to guarantee success when you present an authentic self – someone worth getting to know.

I don’t want to focus on the actual disagreement between our views, but instead I want to focus on the fact that there is disagreement. As a writer and a columnist, my biggest hope is that readers take in what I am saying and are intrigued enough to formulate their own point of view, no matter if it diverges from mine or not. My column did that and motivated Sprague to critique it.

When you have deadlines to meet, and edits to complete (sometimes the sixth or seventh edit of one 500 word article), journalism can seem like a stressful industry. It is in times like these that I realize how lucky I am to be doing what I do and how important this industry is. It allows us to create new opinions and beliefs and share these thoughts with those around us. It is a circle of knowledge flowing, that will never be broken as long as people are free to speak their own opinions.

I became a journalist because I was intrigued by the power of words and today I was reminded that words – including mine – can make a difference.

Choosing Cheese Toast

What makes a student choose cheese toast over home cooked meals? What makes a student leave her loving parents and choose to be on her own, in the middle of nowhere, to do her own laundry and shop for her own groceries?

Some parents might think they did something wrong if their child has to move to another province or country to attend school. Others might want their child to have life experiences and may encourage moving away for school. Every-time I board the train at Union station in Toronto, my parents get a little misty eyed and wonder why their daughter chose to attend school in another city. If a girl who has the most loving parents, the most supportive family can leave home for school, then surely there’s no hope left for anyone else?

I didn’t even think twice about leaving home – I assumed it was something everyone did. After high school, all my friends left for fascinating places – Europe, the Middle East, Vancouver and without thinking much about the decision, I thought I should have a ‘worldly’ experience as well so I decided to go to McGill, a great mix between campus life and city life. After living in Montreal for two years, I have never been happier. The ability to walk to the library in under three minutes puts a smile on my face – since at home,  it would be a 15 minute drive. I don’t have the luxuries I had at home – my mom does not come into Montreal once a month to help me cook or do my laundry or to give me advice on my “teenage drama” and if I don’t wake up for class, no one comes knocking on my door (I know I say I hate it when my mom does that, but it is pretty convenient). Is it the lack of luxury that us students love – a world in which we are solely responsible for ourselves – or is it the comfort that living on campus brings that draw us here?

There are so many things I question now that never even crossed my mind while I made the decision to attend McGill. I wonder if I will ever live at home again – who knows what I will be doing after I finish McGill? Perhaps I’ll work in Ottawa or maybe I’ll get married, relocating me to somewhere other than my childhood home. I never thought about the time that goes by – four years in the grand scheme of what will hopefully be a long and healthy life is not that much. But when I left for McGill my brothers were 9 and 11 and when I graduate they will be 13 and 15, a time when the last thing they want to do is hang out with their sister. I’m missing out on their awkward puberty stage and even though it means I don’t have to share zit cream with them, I also don’t get to witness their shyness around girls or watch their baseball games. I’m like the divorced parent they see once a month and on holidays, but I rarely bring gifts.

I’m not sure why I chose Montreal – maybe students just need to get away for a few years and it could have been Tokyo or Kingston, Ontario. Maybe the prestige of “America’s Harvard” attracted me. Or maybe it was my selfish desire to develop my own thoughts and my own perceptions about the world, no matter the cost. Or maybe, just maybe, leaving home is a part of growing up – and it would have happened eventually.

I was never one to resist a good piece of cheese toast.