I’m sure I wasn’t the only person who was scared to enter their first year of university, but I was definitely more scared than most of my friends. While the rest of my high school classmates decided to go to university together, I chose to go to Carleton University in Ottawa with just one friend. It was great to have that one person who I knew would be there for me, but I also knew that I’d have to make all new friends and that wasn’t going to be easy.
When my mom told be about Spoon University it instantly caught my attention. As a Journalism major, it offered me writing experience and a chance to spread my love of food. I got in contact with Spoon and we discussed starting a Spoon chapter in Ottawa in August before I went to school. I was told that I needed 300 signatures in support of the chapter before I could start one and I freaked out knowing that I only had one friend and that I probably wouldn’t make 299 others in my first semester. Scared of failing, I decided to put off starting a chapter.
When October rolled around, I was already more comfortable at school and felt ready to bring Spoon to my school. When HQ reached back out to me I was on board to start a Spoon University Carleton Chapter. I assembled a team of a few dedicated friends who helped me put together over 80 cookie dough stuffed chocolate dipped Oreos (which was inspired by a Spoon insta, duh) and hand them out to people around campus in return for signatures. It turns out you make a lot of friends when you offer people free food.
In less than a day, people were approaching me to ask what Spoon University was all about and I was standing up in front of my lectures to talk about the petition. If you told me in September that I’d be speaking in front of my lecture halls in my freshman year I would’ve never believed it. Knowing that I had the power to start something so important and necessary on campus gave me confidence. Students, especially those in first-year journalism were extremely interested in getting that writing experience without just writing for the school newspaper which everyone does.
I found that it was crucial for students my age to have that creative outlet that not only was fun but also gave them experience in online journalism which is obviously the future of the industry. Most of our curriculum at Carleton is based on politics and history, and as a person who’s more into Buzzfeed than the Toronto Star I needed that outlet and I knew I wasn’t the only one. Within a few weeks, I had created an opportunity for myself to be the founder and editor of my own chapter which I’m sure not very many freshmen can say. I felt more accomplished at the end of my first year than I ever thought I would.
Not only was HQ unbelievably supportive and there for me every step of the way, but the people they chose as Social Media Manager and Community Manager became like family to me along with all the writers, marketers, photographers, and social media experts we’ve gained since February when we launched. It’s amazing to have a group of friends that just all love food, writing, and photography and everyone on the team instantly clicked. On a personal level, being trusted with this leadership position has done wonders for my confidence and management abilities but as a group, it’s been great to see everyone find their niche and for all of us to grow as a chapter.
I’ve gained technical skills such as WordPress, analytics, and photography but I’ve also learned how to write better and how to take on a leadership position in such a short amount of time. Obviously, Spoon is something amazing to put on a resume especially as an aspiring print journalist, but the most amazing thing to me is when friends text me just to tell me that they read my article and they loved it, it made them laugh, or they learned something new.
I never would’ve thought that our small little chapter in Ottawa, Canada would’ve won the Munch Madness competition, broken the record by getting 300 signatures in one day, or be the number three school ranked by page views this month, but now I feel as though our team is capable of anything because the whole Spoon team gives us the tools to do so. Spoon University really is a close knit team of food lovers just following our passions, and joining that team was definitely the smartest choice I made in my freshman year (aside from taking Friday’s off).