Student Voices: Lessons from the Arts Leadership Cohort | Work of Arts
Student Voices: Lessons from the Arts Leadership Cohort | Work of Arts

Student Voices: Lessons from the Arts Leadership Cohort

Poli sci student and Arts Leadership Cohort member shares what he's learned from fellow ALC students

Student Voices is a WOA blog feature that presents the experiences and viewpoints of current Arts students. Through their posts, you’ll experience the creativity and passion of our students as they present a glimpse into student life. The views and opinions expressed within these posts are solely those of the authors.  

 

It really is a busy time of year.

The nights have become later and the morning lines for coffee have grown longer. It is unlikely that you’ll find a place on campus without that familiar scene of students silently leaning over their scattered papers and highlighted excerpts. Their earbuds and the bags under their eyes tell it all:

Midterm season is upon us.

I myself am currently sitting in the Rutherford Library. The lone sound of pages turning throughout the room reminds me that I should get back to my review. Before I pull out my notes, however, I’d like to share with you some of the lessons I’ve learnt living on the Arts Leadership Cohort (ALC) Floor in Lister and being in the Faculty of Arts.

“We must do something not to impress anyone, but because it is something that we love and that we are passionate about.”

First of all, I will say that I have been very lucky to live on a floor with such a like-minded, altruistic and talented group. Many of the students are extremely gifted: brilliant guitarists, extraordinary artists, witty actors and exceptional debaters. I’ve also enjoyed having such a diverse range of programs on our floor. From Classics to Creative Writing, from English to Education and from Design to Drama — the floor truly is a unique amalgam of individuals.

Now around campus and during my time in high school, I have found that there is almost a kind of mockery of people who enter into the Arts, usually because they supposedly have less opportunity than, say, a science student would, and their degree is apparently unimpressive in comparison. Being on the Arts floor, however, I’ve really grown to admire the nerve of people who were able to say to the naysayers: I don’t care what you think, I want to and I’m going to go into this program.

Therefore, the first lesson I’ve learnt is that we must do something not to impress anyone, but because it is something that we love and that we are passionate about. If we refuse to allow our individuality to be shaped by others, and if we have the courage to choose what we love and want to do — regardless of what anyone thinks — happiness and success are a guarantee.

“There is a need for a change outside our campus and each of us is capable of being that change.”

The second lesson I have learnt living on the Arts floor is that no course or program should ever be looked down upon and dismissed as something easy, useless or unimportant. I have seen how hard some Arts students work and how passionate some of them are about their programs.  Some students ceaselessly work for hours upon hours, often all night, simply to finish a pre-project plan or a rough draft alone. How could someone say that this is not hard work?

Now the main reason why I chose to be on the ALC is because I had been involved with social justice groups in high school and I wanted to continue to be around a group of like-minded people who wanted to make a difference. Recently, our floor went on the Mustard Seed’s Social Issues Walk. It was a profoundly upsetting experience to see how plagued the city really is by poverty and social inequalities. However, it was also inspiring to see and meet individuals who are dedicating their lives to being the change. I recall the man that gave us the tour would introduce himself, shake the hands of and get to know the homeless men we passed on the street. The simple action was very touching. What stuck out the most to me, though, was the Boyle McCauley Health Centre, which provides health services to absolutely anybody on the streets. All ages. No ID required. And the dental care is free.

The third and final lesson that I’ve learnt living on the Arts Leadership Cohort Floor is that there is definitely a need for a change outside our campus and each of us is capable of being that change. We can make a difference. Impacted by what we saw on the walk, our floor is hoping to fundraise for the Boyle McCauley Health Centre.

Thanks for reading. Until next time!

 

Main photo: This year’s Arts Leadership Cohort


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About Jeremiah Ellis

Jeremiah Ellis

Jeremiah Ellis is a first year political science student with an English minor. Originally from Canmore, Alberta, he currently lives on the Arts Leadership Cohort floor in Lister Hall. He is a loyal Toronto Maple Leafs fan who enjoys reading, writing, films and hockey. He has a keen interest in literature and human rights and hopes to work in a field where he can be involved in social justice.


  • Logan Fechter

    Awesome read, Jeremiah! 🙂