December has come and gone in what seemed like a flash. Spending time with family was great, over indulgence in delicious treats was had and cold days were easily avoided by hunkering down inside watching movies, building Christmas gifts and snuggling up with loved ones. Now it’s back to the daily grind, hitting the books and immersing oneself in the new semester.
As I write this, I am sitting in a hotel room in Fredericton, NB on a trip to the 79th annual Canadian University Press yearly convention. What is CUP? At an annual meeting of university student unions in Winnipeg in 1938, the members of campus student newspapers decided to form a network to share ideas amongst themselves. CUP was born and has flourished ever since. A few of us lucky Nugget staff members got the chance to participate in this year’s convention and it has been a fantastic trip. A wide range of members of the Canadian press and entrepreneurs presented different workshops on a variety of interesting topics. Personal highlights for me have been a workshop on the future of radio from Alan Cross, Canadian broadcaster and creator of the fantastic weekly radio show The Ongoing History of New Music, as well as a workshop about social media with Elamin Abdelmahmoud, a young Canadian commentator who has a regular spot on CBC’s The National and is the social media editor for BuzzFeed Canada. This trip has been thoroughly enjoyable so far and something I never imagined doing six months ago.
I got here by getting involved, by taking a leap of faith and joining something that wasn’t front of mind when going back to school. There have been steep learning curves to this job and tasks that I have continually challenged myself to accomplish. It has not been easy at times, especially while balancing that with family and social life. The rewards, however, have been overwhelming. I have had the opportunity to meet some very interesting people, got to know my fellow students as well as some of the hardworking NAITSA and NAIT staff. These opportunities continue to occur and the sky is the limit to where this unimagined extracurricular activity will lead.
Currently, I have no plans on pursuing a career in journalism but that hasn’t hindered my desire to continue in my role at The Nugget. Writing provides an outlet for a creative side I seldom ever acknowledged. Admittedly, in addition to my creative side, it is also rewarding to see my work in print. After all, who doesn’t like showcasing something they have done for friends and family? We all have that childhood self, who came running home from school with their latest accomplishment, still inside us. When there is something tangible that one can point to and say with pride and confidence, “Hey, look what I did” it’s a boost of confidence and a sense of personal pride, maybe even vanity.
The point of all this is that when I first started school at NAIT in September, I never imagined myself sitting in the Maritimes writing my column while on a trip paid for by someone else. The Nugget urgently needs more writers for all sections and they pay for those articles! Even if you only want to write one 600-word piece amonth, the money earned buys a week’s worth of daily coffee or a decent meal out. Write once a week or two articles a week and you can treat your significant other to a night out or buy groceries for a few days. Take the chance on writing.
At The Nugget, we have a small team who can coach new writers through difficulties or writer’s block and give leads for potential stories. The monetary benefits are one undeniably positive aspect, the personal accomplishments through challenging oneself to reach higher and push the limits of what was once a pipe dream are quite another. Anyone can write an impactful article and NAIT is brimming with untapped writing talent.
One of the things that really stood out this weekend while listening to my peers from fellow papers is that many are amazing writers but were fearful that they couldn’t make the cut. These last six months of being involved with The Nugget have shown me that there are many talented writers on campus and they deserve to have their work published.
– A.J. Shewan, Issues Editor