Monday, 10 February 2014

10 Ways Students Can Be Like Winter Olympians

So the 2014 Olympics have arrived and they've raised quite a wide range of questions this year. Conversations are being had around issues of human rights, athletic achievement, global politics, economics, terrorism, bathrooms, fashion, and the weather (and yes, it does still seem a little odd that this year's Winter Olympics includes palm trees), but one question that has yet to be asked (or at least that I've yet to see) is: In what ways can our university students be like our Winter Olympians? 

And with that in mind, here's my 10 part answer:

1    They ARE (or will be) Winter Olympians

Canada's Olympic Bobsled Team
Photo Courtesy of UAlberta Daily News

This one might seem obvious... but it's still worth pointing out. University campuses are filled with talented athletes who deserve to be celebrated for their achievements in the world of sport AND for their achievements in the classroom. Some of them might make their move for the gold during their studies and others (like David Bissett and Neville Wright, among others) complete once they've completed their degrees.

2    Team Spirit

Team Canada 2014 Opening Ceremony
Photos courtesy of 680 News

UAlberta Green and Gold Day
Photo courtesy of the Dean of Students

Olympians parade around the Olympic Village and the Olympic stadium cheering each other on, waving their flags, and demonstrating their pride in where they come from. And so do we. 

3    Respect for International Exchange and Collaboration

UAlberta International Week

Two words: International Week. Two more: International House. And an additional two: Go Abroad. Our campus thrives on the cultural exchanges that take place in both our classrooms and our social spaces. 

4    Speed "Skating"

Olympic Gold Speed Skating 2014
Photo courtesy of the Times Colonist

Olympic Speed Skaters have amazing balance, determination, and speed every time they make their way around the icy track... and given that we attend classes in a winter climate, we often have to push ourselves to stay balanced as we attempt to get to class while crossing some tricky icy patches. It might not be quite the same, but the point is that we all have to get used to ice. 

5    Sledding

Concrete Sled UAlberta
Photo courtesy of the Faculty of Engineering

The Olympics have the Bobsled, the Luge, and the Skeleton races... and we have cement toboggan races. All of the above require helmets, careful thought, and a lot of adrenalin to do.

6    Artistic Expression

Dance at UAlberta

In the Olympics, we see art meet sport in places like the opening and closing ceremonies, the figure skating rink, and on the ski/snowboarding hill, and we see the same kind of dramatic passion from our students. Whether it's expressed threw an amazing art show, a dance ensemble, or a gleeful cheer team, we too can display our passion and enthusiasm with a little flare.

7     Fashion

Best Olympic Curling Outfit
Image courtesy of The Guardian
Student Fashion

Olympians have a definite sense of style, and so do we! Olympians walk around wearing their nation's emblems on their hoodies, hats, and sweaters, and so do we! Plus, it turns out that come of them wear shorts in the winter, and let's be honest.... despite the fact that it's below 30 degrees Celsius with the wind chill right now, there's likely at least on e student on this campus in short. Probably more. 

8    Ski Jumping

Ski Jumping
Photo courtesy of CBC

I can't be the only one who has tried jumping off a set of swings to see how far I could fly before landing in the sand... although at this time of year, that sand would likely be frozen... but the point is, that we all strive to reach beyond our boundaries and try to see how far we can go. 

(Note: Maybe avoid jumping off any swings until things warm up outside...)

9    Four Years

4 Years

Olympians have four years to work towards their goals between Olympics, and on average, so do students. The average Bachelors degree takes at least four years to achieve.

10    Hard Work, Patience, and Persistence

Gold and Silver for Canada 2014
Photo Courtesy of
UAlberta Grads
Photo courtesy of UAlberta News

Olympians are extremely dedicated, passionate, and persistent in their quest for gold, and students must apply the same kind of dedication to their studies. Olympians often start their pursuit of the podium at a young age, and for individuals seeking their post-secondary degrees, the journey usually starts way back in elementary school, when a love for learning first comes to light. And for those Olympians who enter their fields of sport a little later in light, we offer them the same level of celebration as we do to our students who make their way to our classrooms a little later than most. 


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