I have always been one of those people who, for better or worse, likes to bite off more than I can chew. So when I came to McGill, where I am now in my third year of a degree in political science, I raced out to find any extracurricular activity I could.
One such club was the McGill Tribune, one of two student newspapers here on the McGill campus. I had a little bit of writing experience from my days in high school, and applied for a volunteer position as an opinion columnist.
They gave me the job and I never looked back. I realized that there was a lack of representation of Conservative students on campus, so six months later, a friend and I founded The Prince Arthur Herald (princearthurherald.com), Canada’s only conservative student newspaper. Within a few short months, we expanded our operation to a multitude of campuses and created Canada’s only national student newspaper. I now co-manage a team upwards of 70 volunteers from across the country.
It’s become very clear that simply getting a degree is not enough in the modern job market. This is especially true of students like me, who are getting Arts degrees that lack marketable skills for niche lines of work.
The importance of doing extracurricular activities, whether it is an internship, a part-time job, or volunteering, is now vital for students seeking jobs after they graduate.
I find schools to have an unrealistic perspective on this issue. Many do not actively encourage their students to explore the opportunities that are available to them outside of the classroom.
As an institution with a responsibility to their students, school should take a more active role in encouraging students to go beyond academics. They should also be more pro-active in helping to place students with volunteer positions of interest to their careers.