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Parting shots from the EIC

I can’t stand stale traditions, clichés, unsolicited advice and cheap sentiment, but the Gauntlet demands this of me, so please be patient.

The editor-in-chief is supposed to share some hard-earned wisdom in the last editorial of the year. This is difficult because I’m not wise. I spent the last six years avoiding honest work, and I was too busy to notice the time pass by.

So instead of telling you how you should live, I’m going to share what it was like for me in the different roles I played via 2009–2015. I promise I’ll save my advice until the end and keep it brief.

Student: I have made it through university with a GPA competitive for graduate school, yet I can’t remember a single class lesson from last semester. Every year at the University of Calgary has been the same. 

I’m not saying I didn’t receive an education. But most of what I learned was a side effect of enrolment rather than the result of going to class.

University gave me time to experiment with ideas. I spent many days skipping class and reading the wrong books, all the while unburdened by any real authority for the first time in my life.

This, I believe, is the real value of a liberal arts education that no one talks about. It’s a slow and expensive luxury that now a days doesn’t even land you a job. But it’s nonetheless a tremendous gift to give a young person time to sort out their thoughts and learn something about themselves.

Worker Bee: I worked part-time jobs every year I attended university. I manned the delivery window at McDonald’s. I spent 12-hour days in the summer mowing lawns. I cleaned up vomit at a downtown bar.

Every second I spent at these jobs was a countdown until I could go home. Bad jobs have that paradoxical effect of making your days feel slow while the years speed away.

The Gauntlet was my salvation. I volunteered for two years before I became a full-time staff member. The second year was one of the busiest periods of my life.

But news editor and editor-in-chief were the two best jobs I’ve ever had. My days flew by, and I learned few things are more fulfilling than a job you care about.

Person: I spent the first month of university excited, two years depressed and the next three-and-a-half years sorting out my life. This was not what I expected when I started.

Being confused and miserable made me reassess a lot of my life, and I’ve come to see that there are only a few truly important things.

I was at my grandparents’ house the other day. They’ve had a rough couple of years health-wise and have aged noticeably.

We were looking through photo albums and came across photos from my sixth birthday. I remember it well. In the photos, my grandparents look almost as young as my parents do now.

Advice: Life is incredibly short, and it can be equally painful and beautiful. The best we can do is pay attention, prioritize and commit to what we care about.

Your time is limited, so think about how you spend it.

And read the Gauntlet

Riley Hill, Gauntlet Editorial Board

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