Over the last month, we’ve spent some time exploring a topic that we hope has been a little interesting, and hopefully a relatable one, which is college culture, and more specifically Canadian college culture. We set out to analyze exactly why there seemed to be a shortcoming in comparison to our American brethren, when it comes to the idealized college lifestyle. Now, here we are, 5 sections later and we are already to conclude this series (for now; hopefully some positive changes in the near future will call for a re-visit soon!), after creating some comparisons of the post secondary communities that would typically be found in both Canada and the United states. We broke down the main differences to sports culture, greek life, and last week we looked at music culture. As promised, we reserved one final post to put a positive spin back on the series, and speak on the amazing things that going to school in this great country has to offer! The beauty of this post, is that I can tell you everything first hand. There will be a lot of examples from the University of Calgary since that is where I have attended for the last 3 years, but I can assure that any readers, from any school will be able to relate.
While outlining the last few topics, I tried to make it pretty clear that although we may not be on the same levels for these American highlights, they are not non-existent, and are often just a little altered. Our football games might not get as rowdy, but I assure you we can pack a hockey arena (The annual Calgary vs. Mt. Royal hockey game? Wow!). We may not have prominent on-campus fraternities, but many are able to rally behind the many large clubs that our schools have to offer (for any UofC students, just take a look at the Ski Club, and the things they have been able to accomplish). We may not have a very big frat-rap community, but I bet you’ve never seen a rowdier group of country music fans than at the Calgary Stampede, and I can assure you that many genres such as EDM strive (UofC’s EDM club recently held a contest to let one of their members perform at one of the biggest on-campus parties in Canada).
(Above: The beautiful campus of the University of Western Ontario)
And what’s even better than going somewhere where everyone is like you?
A place where everyone is unique, with different thing making each more interesting than the last! That, is the beauty of going to college in the most culturally diverse country in the entire world. For every person who has a similar hobby, or interest, or idea to you, there are 3 more people with something new to offer. Its honestly strange how our differences can bring us together, and I don’t pretend to understand it, but it really is something magical. I still remember my first week of university, meeting hundreds of new faces, and being flabbergasted at all the places in the world people had come from, to eventually land here. The look on people’s faces when I would introduce myself, and we would find that we were from opposite ends of the country, but had a similar interest was one that might have gone unnoticed, but 3 years later, reminiscing on these moments it seems like such an obvious fact that I would still be so close with many of these people.
Now, I know you didn’t think that all I was going to talk about was how friendly of a place this is, and all that sappy stuff for the whole time, did you? If so, you clearly don’t know me.
Lets not forget to mention one pretty important number. 18. As in 18 YEARS OLD. The legal drinking age in 4 Canadian provinces is a full 3 years younger than it is for our neighbors down South (with the rest of the country being 19 years for legal drinking, 2 years younger than the States, still). The reason you aren’t as likely to see a Project X style house party in Canada is because we are all out tearing up the bars by our first year of university, and even high school in some cases. Many Canadian institutions even hold their own festival style parties each year as well, with some of the biggest happening at McGill, Calgary, and UBC (below). Calgary’s annual “Bermuda Shorts Day” (BSD) party has been going strong for over 50 years, and brings out upwards of 6,000 people to the on-campus, mid day beer gardens. The last day of class is cancelled (unless your prof. is an ass…), and even those who don’t attend the gardens for whatever reason, still embrace the campus-wide holiday with festivities such as massive house parties, day drinking, and city-wide events, all topped off with a night full of post BSD clubbing if you’re still standing.
(Above: UBC’s annual Block Party attracted names such as Adventure Club and Shad in 2014)
Our schools offer some of the best rated educations in the world, for a fraction of the cost, aaaaand we still know how to get down. What our schools tend to lack in terms of lifestyle, many of the cities are able to make up for. Places like Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, and Toronto rank amongst the most livable cities in the world yearly, for those who enjoy the big-city life, and places like Victoria, Guelph, and Halifax offer the college town feel without leaving civilization.
In conclusion (essay game on fleek), I know exactly how lucky I am to live, and go to school, in the beautiful, cultured, free country that I do, and I would never take that for granted. The point I hope to raise through the reading and sharing of these posts, is to encourage positive action within these Canadian schools to help make the experience that much better. There is no secret formula to making a college kid’s 4 years enjoyable, but when you consider that these 4 years might be your last real chances to enjoy the care-free qualities of life, I think that more emphasis should be put on the journey. I still have over a year to go in my college journey, but I know already that I will be able to leave here knowing that I made the most of my time here, and had a great time doing it, but it sucks knowing that many of my peers will not be able to say the same for whatever reason. A lot of this stems from not putting the effort in to have a good time before it is too late, but just as much blame must go to the structure of things up here.
Canada is a world class country, and it shouldn’t take some Yank’s filming party videos to make us realize that we can do a little better. It’s our turn now, so I urge you to be the change you wish to see!
Let me know in the comments, what your favourite part of going to school in Canada is, or what you would love to see changed! Who knows who might read this.
Two words: one love,