Editorial: Meet Your New School, Same as the Old School

From the Editors

KPU Main building pictured in Aug. 2016. (Tristan Johnston)

As with all universities, your experience will be what you make of it. When I first came to Kwantlen Polytechnic University in 2012, I would do nothing but simply show up for class, take notes, and leave. I wasn’t making many friends, nor did I feel a strong connection to the school.

However, I’ve learned in the last two years that the KPU experience can be a good one if you want it to be. For me, this meant getting involved with the school paper. For you it might mean joining a club, working with the student association, or simply hanging out in the Grassroots waiting for something to happen.

To be honest, my first year at KPU was forgettable. You go to the regular first year courses where most people end up going their separate ways. Everyone has to take English, even if they’re going into Computer Science and you’re going into Creative Writing. You might make a couple of first year friends, but they’ll likely drift away by second year.

If you really want your social situation to improve, I recommend getting involved. As cliche as it sounds, it’s very accurate. And unlike UBC, where they likely have established societies and student groups ready-made for you, at KPU you often have to do the groundwork yourself. It’s harder, yes, but much more rewarding, and the people that you end up working with will be as ambitious as you are.

My time at The Runner has been transformative. When you work together with people creating something—interviewing a lot of people, forming connections—making friends is an inevitability. When you’re working as a staff writer, you’re going all over the place, from club to society, speaking to KSA and KPIRG members and whoever else. Even if you do it in a very formal, business sort of way, it will still lead to actual relationships when the interview recorder gets turned off.

Regardless, KPU still has its student life difficulties that other schools might not. There are no dormitories, and transit isn’t very good in the evenings, especially if you don’t live in Surrey. Personally, it takes me an hour and a half to get here, and I need to get the 301 before 8 pm or I’m taking a very expensive taxi.

A lack of student life is the achilles heel of this university, and a problem that many are trying to fix, whether they be the KSA, KPU administration, or motivated students.

I should be clear that a longing for more student life doesn’t mean there’s none at all. The Gaming Guild is very popular, and there are a handful of social justice organizations to get involved with. If you’re on the artsy side, there’s us, Pulp, and a fairly consistent helping of open mics and poetry.

Regardless, many of you will simply transfer out of here after two or three semesters. Out of all my high school friends who came to KPU, I’m the only one who hasn’t transferred, and to be honest, I probably would have done so myself if I could get a B.A. in Journalism at UBC.

It’s clear that KPU is starting to understand what it is and is playing up its own strengths, those of a polytechnic university. We offer the normal load of typical university courses, but we also offer some more out-of-the-box stuff, like courses in medical marijuana and being a horse farrier.

So welcome to KPU. If you decide not to transfer out, I hope you’ll make the best of it.