Volume 96, Issue 100
Tuesday, April 8, 2003

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Striking a balance at university

Ryan Dixon
Managing Editor

While it has never translated into any form of academic achievement, I can say, with absolute certainty, that I am a thinker. It's generally a wide spectrum of wonderings that float through my head, but for the most part, I have to confess, I think about me.

What makes me who I am? I think about hockey.

I have no memory of a time in my life when I could walk, but not skate. As far as I can remember, I could always do both. On a very important side note, thank God I had the presence of mind very early on to realize that, while the blue and white colours featured on the jersey my dad tried pulling over my head didn't suit me, shades of red, white and blue seemed to be much more flattering.

The point is, I play hockey because of the skates and stick my dad gave me, but I couldn't love it without the passionate heart my mom gave me.

By the same token, a big part of the reason I believe in myself and my abilities is because of my mom's endless instinctual encouragement, but I hope any success I ever experience will always be tempered by the fact that, very early on in life, my dad quite aptly told me, "If you are good at something, you won't have to tell other people – they'll tell you."

Life requires some balance it seems. So does university.

I will leave Western with a degree that helped me think some new thoughts, but I will remember Western because I came to The Gazette. Driven by the same passion I had for hockey when I was young, I came here to see if there was any long-term way I could stay close to the game I love. I found out there was – and that was just the beginning.

It's not the fact that I stumbled upon people who shared common interests with me that has made my time at The Gazette unforgettable; it's that I found a room full of unique individuals with interests different than mine. Because I came here, I own CDs by artists I had previously never heard of, have been inundated with both right and left wing rhetoric, learned to play squash and found out that, under the right influences, on a clear Collingwood night, you can see a slice of Mexico. This place has taxed my mind and tugged at my heart, but I've come to realize that, for better or worse, you can always find a way to meet a deadline and there's no hurt that can't eventually be healed.

I have a present for all of you who have sifted through this self-indulgent piece. Everything I have talked about up to this point has to do with my experiences, but, believe it or not, it all applies to you.

For my first two years at Western, I went through the motions of being a student and my university experience was lacking. All that changed when I came to The Gazette. Here's the part where you come in. The experience I've had at this school is there for you too, if you want it. No matter who you are, if you think about what you love, kick the disease known as apathy and its biggest trump card – fear – from running your life, you will find that, when you apply yourself to something, you reap rewards that were previously unimaginable.

At least, that's what I think.


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