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BCIT is relentlessly uncool

Artist’s re-creation — Ervin Cho

I completed half my program and all I got was this lousy column

I remember my first day at BCIT, last September. It was orientation day and I was late, running down Willingdon, my new backpack thumping against my back and my forehead getting sweaty.

Upon arrival, I received my student card. I could hear a faint chanting. And drums. It got louder as I approached the gym door until, as I walked into the gym, I was confronted with hundreds of chanting, clapping, drumming students. They were getting pumped up on the upcoming semester via tribal chants, I guess, and I just kind of watched them in awe.

Listen: BCIT is relentlessly uncool.

The BCIT student will say, “What’s uncool about quick graduation and high job placement rates?”

Artist’s re-creation — Ervin Cho

Artist’s re-creation — Ervin Cho

And yes, that’s true. BCIT is unpretentious and hardworking. It’s ugly and uncomfortable, but that makes sense because most people here are looking to get in and get out as quickly as possible without having to worry about cheering for a school sports team.

I walk around in a hoodie and jeans feeling dressed up. I once heard a guy doing Nickelback covers on an acoustic guitar in the campus pub. (This, I hope, would not fly on other campuses.)

For me, the first of two years in broadcast journalism is wrapping up. It has been memorable, to put it lightly. I have spent so much time with my classmates that it makes me feel uneasy how well we know each other. Eight courses per semester is crazy, no matter who you are. Throw in countless assignments, meetings, extra assignments and projects, and work-study too. Sometimes it feels as though I never leave school.

Places like Professor Mugs have kept the BCIT campus interesting. For example, during one of the first weeks I won a sausage-eating contest and proceeded to vomit it back up after I had collected my prize.

More recently, I participated in a trivia night put on by this very publication. Sure, the bar closes at like, nine. But this attempt to be “fun” against the odds is totally endearing and hilarious in its futility.

I biked to school almost every day. So many people live within biking distance of BCIT and choose to drive instead. This confuses me. Biking will help you get into terrific shape, and you don’t have to worry about parking or traffic. And it’s an experience.

On a sharply cold day, hopping on the bicycle and flying full speed down Royal Oak or whatever, you feel alive, sky opening up above you. Pulling into school and locking up your bike you feel out of breath and awake. And usually wet. I bring a change of clothes.

One of my favourite things about new experiences is contrasting what I expected against what I got. What I’m looking for in an education is expansive and all-encompassing. This runs very contrary to what I think BCIT is looking to provide me: JOBS JOBS JOBS!

BCIT may not be vibrant or fun or care about culture. They may occasionally pull strange moves like tribal pep rallies, or wrangle up a bunch of dogs for people to pet to unwind.

Still, there’s something inspiring about being surrounded by people who are driven to make something of themselves, even at the cost of a normal social college experience. And one other compliment I can pay to BCIT is that I’ll be back for more next year.


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