Author: Student Ambassador (Page 1 of 26)

What Do You Do With A Degree? Guest Blogger – Thomas Friesen

My CMU degree allowed me to get paid to watch sports.

Well, it’s a little more complicated than that.

Thomas FrieseenMy work days consist of studying teams’ records and stats, making note of key players and storylines to follow. Then, I watch them play for a few hours, taking notes and photos. Once the game ends, chat with a few of them, (pray I pressed record on my phone beforehand), and put together a story.

There’s some stress, too. Things happen fast and the deadline is always looming. But, at the end of the day, I get paid to watch sports and share my thoughts on them. It’s usually as sweet as it sounds.

The journey from CMU to this was a short one.

I spent a 12-week term with the Winkler Times and Morden Times, part of a group of weekly newspapers in southern Manitoba. CMU director of practicum Werner Kliewer set me up with that, and it was a fantastic starting point. 

From there, the Brandon Sun reached out and asked me to apply for a job in its sports department. That’s it.

The years leading up to grad were the interesting part.

I went through three years of pre-medicine courses at CMU before it hit me. I thought about my passions and how they aligned with my path in school.

My conclusion? They didn’t.

So, what are those passions? I love watching sports and talking about them. Simple, but how do you make a career out of that?

It turns out there’s an answer within these walls: communications and media. With the starting point of communications and media courses, here are three steps that helped me land a full-time sports reporter job with one of the biggest newspapers in the province.

Step One: Take Journalism. CMU is offering it this winter.

Surprisingly, I hated writing when I started university, or thought I did. English was my least favourite high school subject. I dreaded those 3,000-word papers, drudging through old books in the library, and searching through various academic journals to find scraps of information by scholars I could attribute my pre-meditated arguments to.

It turns out I loved to write, but had no interest in academic writing. Journalism is the opposite.

Big words are discouraged. You’re supposed to write for the masses, so that anyone can enjoy your work.

Those long, drawn out sentences you write when you’re out of thoughts but need to reach an arbitrary word count? Gone.

Reaching a word count is no longer a concern. The challenge becomes trying to fit all your thoughts in. That’s a fun problem to have.

I’ve never heard a student describe essay writing as ‘fun.’ Taking journalism showed me how enjoyable writing can be.

Step Two: Stop asking for extensions

Those deadlines, the ones that you found out about on syllabus day? They are the easiest deadlines you’ll ever have to meet.

In the real world, especially that of a daily newspaper, the timeline is radically different.

Right now, you likely have a 600-word paper due in a few weeks, maybe even tomorrow morning. In this business, a 600-word story is due the day it’s assigned, sometimes less than an hour after the game ends. Being late isn’t an option here, either. Instead of losing a couple per cent on a grade, I can lose my job.

Make a habit out of hitting every due date and prepare for the unexpected. Learn how to meet deadlines, not make excuses.

Step Three: Start a blog/join a website

A Winnipeg Free Press journalist gave me this advice during my first year of communications courses. I started a free blog—friesentundra.wordpress.com—and wrote about anything and everything I felt like sharing. Every time I published a post, I shared it on Facebook and Twitter.

Your work changes when you know everyone in your network and their grandmother can see it. The feedback you will receive, and simply the process of expressing your thoughts, will make you better every day.

After a few months of blogging, I applied to be a staff writer for LombardiAve.com, a site that covers the Green Bay Packers. I still write for it today.

While I’ve never received a cent for my work, it has been a valuable experience. I work with an experienced team of writers and two editors who provide terrific feedback and teach me through the stylistic changes they make to my stories.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have a long way to go in this business. I make mistakes every day. But, investing in my craft through unpaid platforms was a vital step that helped me get to the point where someone felt my words are worth paying for.

Still interested?

Fair warning, the hours are long, and in sports they are late. And newspapers aren’t trending in a positive direction. For those reasons, another piece of advice I received about journalism was “find a new passion.”

But I’ll end with this.

I absolutely love it.

Most of the day it doesn’t even feel like work. Every day is another chance to share someone’s story in a new way. Oh, and the people in this business are a blast. I walk out of the newsroom satisfied every night.

Thomas Friesen is a CMU communications and media grad, and former Blazers volleyball and soccer player.

I Owe It To Outtatown: Guest Blogger – Cassidy Brown

Hi Everyone!

Screenshot_20180930-160952_InstagramMy name is Cassidy Brown and I’m a first-year student at CMU. However, this was not my first year at CMU! I was a part of the Outtatown Guatemala site in 2016/2017. This was one of the most important years of my life in terms of personal, spiritual, and personal growth. Prior to Outtatown, my vocational plan was to study music and education at CMU, in hopes of becoming a band teacher. But (as Outtatown often does to people) my plans very quickly changed.

The first time I questioned my future was during our week on the Roseau River First Nation for our First Nations learning week. This was one of my favorite weeks from the first semester. Our week consisted of listening to stories from various community members, participating in traditional ceremonies, and learning about their faith. I already knew that the treatment of Indigenous people in Canada needs to change, but it’s different to hear first-hand accounts. I started to think about what we can do, and what I can do to help create a positive change. “Peace” was a theme I kept feeling myself coming back to.

Screenshot_20180930-160931_InstagramGuatemala was my favourite part of the Outtatown year. I immediately fell in love with the country, the atmosphere, the people, and the food. We climbed volcanoes, hiked in the mountains, made relationships with people we lived with, and ate lots of tortillas. One of the hardest parts, though, was learning about Guatemala’s past. Something I didn’t know before we went was the genocide against the Mayan people, also known as the silent holocaust, that lasted from 1960 to 1996. We heard stories from a farmer who helped smuggle people to safety amidst garbage, and of how the Mayan people were killed simply for being indigenous. It struck me the similarities between this and the treatment of Canada’s Indigenous population. Living in 2018, it feels like we should be further along than we are.

I owe my current vocational thoughts to Outtatown. My eyes were opened to the beauty, but also the injustice in the world, and how I can be a part of the change. Currently I’m hoping to major in Peace and Conflict Transformation studies and work anywhere I can to help bring more peace to the world.  My current hope is to work with Mennonite Central Committee. I firmly believe in the work that they do, and hope CMU can help me achieve that goal. I also will always be grateful to Outtatown for the life changing experiences I had. I look forward to finishing off my studies at CMU, as I love the sense of community, my classes, and my professors. So, that’s where I am now! I’m excited for what my future holds but I also know that things change sometimes, but I know God will put me where I’m supposed to be.

Can an Introvert Enjoy Living in Dorm? A Personal Reflection

In my final year of high school as I was weighing my options for post-secondary education, I distinctly remember telling my friends and family:

“I will NEVER live in a dorm room.”

I was (and still am) an introvert. I thrive on time alone in my room, with schedule, structure, and control of my surroundings. Dorm life sounded like the opposite of all these things that I loved and held so tightly onto. People everywhere, a multitude of different schedules all in one space, shared control of public spaces, and a lot of unknowns; it didn’t sound very appealing. This isn’t to say I didn’t like people or making friends, but the introvert in me knew that I needed plenty of time on my own to recharge and take care of my mental health. To me, living in a dorm room surrounded by strangers for an entire year sounded terrifying.

ACS_0057Now, take this girl and imagine her moving into Poettker Hall in the fall of 2017, and then again into the Katherine Friesen Apartments with TWO roommates in 2018. My high-school-self would have fainted. As it turns out, a lot of the opinions and beliefs I had about on-campus life turned out to be misconceptions. Imagine that: a high school student having misconceptions about the future and the world around them. I’m sure that’s never happened to anyone else…

If I could have a conversation with the dorm-skeptic that I was in high school, or anyone questioning the positives of living on-campus, this is what I would have to say:

1.) Alone time is good! Loneliness is not.

IMG_9431It’s natural to crave time to yourself. This is time we can take to reflect, practice self-care, and relax. But, spending all of your time alone is not healthy. I managed to create a fine balance of taking time for myself and stretching myself to have conversations and hang out with people outside of my room! It came as a beautiful surprise to me when a floor-mate would knock on my door and invite me to do something or go somewhere and I would respond with an eager “yes!”. Now, I didn’t say “yes” every time, but I found that the more connections I made with the people around me, the easier it was to feel at home in the space I lived in.

2.) You’re going to make new friends, but you don’t have to be best friends with everyone.

IMG_8727Making new friends is great, and I encourage it! But I don’t encourage devoting all of your time to forcing a close friendship with everyone in your dorm building. You’re going to need some time to study, too. Friendship is something that comes naturally. You’re not going to ‘click’ immediately with everyone on your floor, and that’s okay! Making an effort to connect with the people around you is a great start. There is no dorm-life rulebook that says you have to know the favourite colour of every single person on your floor or anything like that.

3.) Letting go of control is OKAY!

ACS_0096Sometimes all of the shower stalls will be full, and that’s okay! Sometimes someone on your floor will practice their clarinet while you’re studying, so you’ll pop in some headphones or head to the library, and that’s okay! Sometimes you won’t write down “impromptu yoga-party in the first floor lounge” in your agenda and one will occur anyways, and that’s okay! Sometimes you’ll stay up later than you expected to, sitting in the hallway with some people who used to be strangers but are now more like sisters, talking and laughing while telling stories, and that’s okay! It’s wonderful, actually.

So, to my dorm-life skeptic high-school-self: it may come as a big surprise, but you’ll end up living on-campus and loving it. It’ll have it’s ups and downs, but with each of them will come growth and lessons. You certainly won’t become an extrovert in any sense of the word, but you’ll be able to call your university campus “home”, and that’s all you’ll need.

– Chloe Friesen, 2nd year Communications and Media student

“I really love < insert favourite sport here >, but I can’t play on a team and go to school at the same time; my GPA will be terrible! I need to focus on my studies during my university years!”

I know far too many amazing athletes who have said this and then hung up their jerseys for good because they feared not being able to balance the workload that comes with a university education while playing on a sports team. It’s time to dispel this myth! Honestly, I believe playing sports while in university makes me a better student academically. But don’t just take my word for it! Meet Daniel, Carley, and Vanessa—three CMU Blazer athletes who know all about that Student-Athlete life.

Carley: Heyo, my name is Carley Matkowski, I am a second-year bachelor of arts student and currently on the women’s basketball team.

Daniel: Hello! My name is Daniel McIntyre-Ridd. I’m in my third year at CMU studying Communications—I also play on the CMU soccer and futsal teams.

Vanessa: Hello, my name is Vanessa Friesen! I am a first-year student studying psychology and I play volleyball.

What are the benefits of playing sports while in university?
Carley Matkowski

Carley Matkowski

Carley: There are so many amazing aspects of playing university sports! Being part of a community with like-minded individuals that are passionate about the sport you love, the advanced university level is also amazing to experience because it takes your dedication and commitment to a whole new level, and through that you get to grow as an athlete and person.

Daniel: You become super close with your teammates, which especially for rookies means you have a ready-made social circle, as well as academic help.

Vanessa: The best thing about playing volleyball while in university is that it’s a super easy and fun way to meet new people and make new friends. The team makes starting university a little more relaxed and less stressful because they’re very welcoming and know what you’re going through.

What has been the most difficult part of balancing your academic responsibilities and sports?

Carley: Personally, I think it would be harder to not play sports while doing my studies because then I would have time to procrastinate. When you play on a team you are a part of that team which means showing up early to practices, giving 100% of your effort and being committed to all games and tournaments. It truly teaches you how to manage your time in a responsible way where you can equally balance your studies and sports.

Daniel: I usually have to miss a few classes due to games vs teams from out of town, so the soccer team has set study days where we all gather to either get ahead or catch up on our workload.

Vanessa: The most difficult part of balancing practice and school is just having a smaller time frame to complete work. What I’ve been doing so far is as soon as I know I have an assignment or a book to read, I get right on it. I try not to worry and get stressed that I need to get it done.

Do you think playing sports in university affects your grades?

Carley: I do not think playing university sports affects your grades. There are thousands of reasons and distractions that can affect your grades; you are the boss of yourself and if you want to succeed than that is what you will do. Also, while being on a sports team you have to be passing all your classes and have a minimum GPA of 2.0, so technically, you are more motivated to pass your classes and do well! 

Daniel McIntyre-Ridd

Daniel McIntyre-Ridd

Daniel: Yes, positively! Being able to take an hour away from hitting your head against a paper you can’t finish by getting your brain just focused on soccer is something I find super beneficial.

Vanessa: I played volleyball in high school and it didn’t affect my grades; I don’t see what makes university any different! I know many people who played sports throughout university and are doing well academically.

What are your athletic/academic goals for the 2018-2019 year?

Carley: This year I want to keep pushing my athletic and education abilities to their full potential. My goal is to work hard, never give up and always slay the day!

Daniel: Academics-wise, I’d like to keep my place on the Dean’s Honor Roll. For soccer, I believe we can win both the futsal and soccer championships!

Vanessa: My goals aren’t that big, but overall I just want to create a rhythm so that when I come back next year I will do a better job of managing my time and becoming more social. Because as a first-year student, right now I think I spend too much of my time in my room doing homework.

 What does it mean to be a ‘Blazer’?

 Carley: As soon as you step foot into CMU you instantly feel a part of the community. I thought leaving my high school I would never feel the same passion I had towards being a “Laker” anywhere else, but I was wrong. Soon after I became a Blazer! The community and love as a Blazer is incredible and I would never turn back! #lovethedove

Daniel: Being a Blazer means that you’re committed to achieve excellence both in high level sport for CMU and in academic standards.

Vanessa Friesen

Vanessa Friesen

Vanessa: I find that being a Blazer is almost comforting to me. The school colours are the same as my high school so I guess that’s why. But also it means that I have a whole school behind me when I play, they watch and cheer us on because they believe in us and want us to do our best. It’s like being part of a huge, diverse family.

Why should everyone come watch the Blazers in action?

Carley: “WOOOOHOOOOO YAAA, GO BLAZERS GO!” Does that sound like fun? Well you are right, it is! I encourage you to come out to all of the sport events to cheer on you CMU Blazers. We are a community and love seeing you there. We love the support and cannot wait to see you this year!

Daniel: We have a really dynamic, hardworking, attacking team that will be entertaining to watch even if the score is low.

Vanessa: Everyone should come watch because not only do we play for ourselves, we play for our school. With our school behind us at games, we know that we can overcome any obstacle that’s foolish enough to stand before us. Why? Because we are Blazers!

Meet the 2018/19 Blogger – Chloe Friesen

ChloeAnd just like that, it’s the beginning of another year at CMU! The leaves in Assiniboine Park are turning all sorts of lovely colours, Fall@CMU is right around the corner, and planners are excitedly being filled with assignment due dates. Welcome back everyone! This year is going to be a good one, I can feel it.

I should probably introduce myself, as I’ll be the primary blogger for #myCMUlife this year!

Hello! My name is Chloe Friesen, and I’m a second year Communications and Media student here at CMU. But there’s much more to me than my area of studies (although I do have a passion for Comm and Media, that’s for sure). So, here are 10 Fun Facts About Me:

  1. Morden, MBI was born and raised in Morden, Manitoba. Home of the Corn and Apple Festival, giant aquatic dinosaur statues, and the cutest downtown you ever did see! I love Winnipeg, but I’ll always be a small-town prairie girl at heart.
  2. As you can likely guess from my last name, I grew up in the Mennonite tradition. I’ve loved the opportunities I’ve been given to explore my heritage here at CMU, yet, I still don’t like perogies…
  3. Screen Shot 2018-09-15 at 4.54.57 PMThis year you’ll find me living in the Katherine Friesen apartments, but I lived in good ol’ Poetcker Hall during my first year. Being a residence student has definitely shaped my university experience for the better, and CMU truly feels like home!
  4. My favourite thing about living in Winnipeg is my proximity to Stella’s (I’ll take the Mexican Breakfast, please…).
  5. VolleyballI’m on the volleyball team here at CMU (GO BLAZERS!) and love being a student-athlete!
  6. My favourite study-spot on campus is at Folio Café. And speaking of Folio…
  7. I LOVE COFFEE. You know how everyone says that you’ll start drinking coffee in university and then never stop? Yeah. That’s entirely true. My go-to order at any coffee shop is a half-sweet vanilla latte (order one at Folio, you won’t be disappointed).Screen Shot 2018-09-15 at 4.54.17 PM
  8. I attended the Canadian School of Peacebuilding this past summer and explored the role that art can play in peacebuilding efforts in a course called “Arts-Based Approaches to Peacebuilding”. It was an invaluable experience, and I find myself applying the lessons I learned in every class I’ve taken since!
  9. I have a tattoo of a carrot on my inner right ankle. It symbolizes being rooted in the Lord, growth, and my enthusiastic love for vegetables and gardening.
  10. Instagram is my favourite social-media platform, and you might see me take over the CMU Admissions story once in a while (@cmu_admissions)!

Thanks for reading! I’m looking forward to giving you an inside look into life at CMU this year, because it’s pretty great, I’d say!

Chloe Friesen

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