from one UW fuckup to another: welcome

hey there. if you’re reading this and you’re from the university of waterloo, all you need to know about me is i’m a frustrated third year engineering student. if you’re reading this and you’re not from the university of waterloo, let me give you some background.

the university of waterloo is known for innovation. our big advertising slogan for a few years was “ideas start here”. incoming students and parents love that. and now there’s this expectation that you should be doing more. always. it’s not enough to just focus on school, you need to have a startup as an undergrad too. you have to be on a design team, or a student society, or a vp whatever. you have to be pitching new ideas to velocity, attending co-op info sessions, going to the gym, cooking real food, and building robots in your spare time. we’re supposed to be some of the best in canada with our academics, which is another thing that draws new students in. but a few weeks into a term, it’s easy to see the effects of rigorous academics on students. and while our co-op program also draws a lot of students in, it amps up the competitiveness by pitting classmates against each other for a dream job.

i have noticed a trend in my time here at uw, especially on social media. there are only two options of how people seem to present their feelings:

  1. my life is great; i’m in california/seattle/some place that’s not canada and i’m having so much fun hiking and drinking with my new friends. i love mountains and craft beer, but above all else i fucking love my job.
  2. let me make fun of myself about how stupid i am, and how likely it is i will fail. i hate myself, i hate this school, and i hate the world. occasionally insert comment about wanting to die (can be both joking or serious).

that doesn’t make sense. i know there is a middle ground. and i know the university throws so much shit at us. and i get it. we all want to be bitter and upset at the university, or show off how amazing our life to match the high expectations we think everyone has of us.

i really do get it. i’ve had a shit co-op rating and had ceca be 0% helpful. i’ve worked for a racist, sexist, homophobic, and transphobic boss. i’ve felt like shit watching people leave classes in suits for interviews, when i had none. i’ve failed more midterms than i’d like to admit. i’ve spent far too long crying in a bathroom stall in dwe. i’ve been kicked out of a project group because i wasn’t smart enough for my classmates. i’ve also travelled for co-op and felt the need to share pictures constantly, to prove that i “made it”. i’ve had family and friends constantly tell me how impressive my life seems. and above all else i feel like i’ve let everyone in my life down, because i’m not as good as i think i should be.

and this is not just my story, most students at uw likely will tell you a similar narrative. as many pros as there are for attending uw, there are so many downsides. but i want to move past the all-good or all-bad mentality of uw. i want to take these shitty situations and turn them around and make them okay. i want to give students constructive advice when you feel like you’ve been fucked over.

so if you’re interested, follow me and see what else i have to say. i can’t promise it will make your life better, but at the very least i’ll be honest, real, and truly authentic.