Editorial: Your university degree is more than just a piece of paper
The experiences and resources we get out of our years at UTM are invaluable.
Yeah, it’s just a piece of paper. Low-quality stuff really, not as solid as the degrees they handed out in the ’90s, conservation efforts I suppose. But it’s not the quality of the paper that matters really, it’s the quality of the education. But that’s a bit sketchy too, isn’t it? Does it matter that you went to University?
The cynics are right, the ones that say, “you’re no smarter for finishing your degree,” “you’re no richer than the high school dropout that got into crypto or started a business.” But then again, you probably weren’t interested in day trading and probably never saw yourself as a plumber or an electrician. Most of us came to school because we had a passion we wanted to pursue, some questions we wanted answered, maybe a family legacy of university graduates. But even then, a lot of students graduate, and it really is just a piece of paper confirming enrollment, attendance, and a satisfactory grade.
Many students never take advantage of what that university degree represents.
What it represents is resources, resources that are readily available to all of us. It represents the opportunity to gain experience, build a network, develop tertiary skills that are all in extremely high demand as the labour market evolves. At UTM you need only ask. Want work experience? Walk into the Centre for Student Engagement and immediately receive a volunteer position. Want to get paid? Apply for the dozens of work-study positions only available to UTM students. Want to become a researcher? Contact a professor and ask to work with them. Need a network? Go to the Get Hired Fair, speak to your instructors, and get involved. Want to publish your writing? Hit up The Medium with an article or submit to campus journals that cover everything from science, to psychology, to math, to literature.
You can do all these things without any conditions. Ask and thou shalt receive. Work and thou shalt be rewarded…
So break that stereotype of university just being a piece of paper. Start now, start early, and go often to the watering holes that give up opportunities like clouds release rain in London. And you might end up with more than just a piece of paper.