Spotlight on UofT Cressy Award Winners: Louis Train

In September a brand new set of students will be joining the University of Toronto community. That is cause for celebration! In the next few posts we are going to share the experiences and insights of a few of our graduating students. These students have all been very involved with the University of Toronto and the University has acknowledged their involvement by awarding them with The Cressy Award.

The student experience at the University of Toronto is more than classes and books. It is life on campus, in the community and in the world at large. The Cressy Awards recognize graduating students for outstanding contributions to improving the world around them and inspiring others to do the same.

Please click here to view the 2015 Gordon Cressy Student Leadership Award Recipients.

Incoming students, if you are reading this, welcome to UofT! I encourage to get involved and find your fit here just like these amazing grads did!

Cressy Award Winner: Louis Train
Program: Philosophy, English, Writing & Rhetoric
Involved with: Peace by PEACE, blogUT, The Mike, The Howl, Arts and Science Council, Humanities Curriculum Committee, The Underwear Club
College: SMC

LouisWe asked Louis to share some advice he had for incoming students. This is what he said:

Some of my best learning at UofT was outside the classroom. I watched experienced leaders and figured out how to do what they did. I watched them plan, organize, direct, and inspire. I went to their events and worked on their projects and followed their instructions. Then I planned my own events and launched my own projects.

Your leader might have only a few more years of experience than you, but a few good years can make a big difference. If you read about someone who seems impossibly accomplished, remember they started in the same position as you. The difference is what they’ve learned since. That’s also what you can learn from them.

Choose involvement opportunities like choosing a class – what can I learn? Who is in charge, and what can they teach me?

But also ask: Do I care about this? Do I believe in it? I lost a year following a charismatic student leader whose club was essentially padding for her resume. I learned a lot, but felt empty.

At Peace by PEACE, I worked on something I believed in and learned a lot. I invented a conflict resolution game that 3000 Toronto kids have played.

I also found a love for writing, and spent three happy years writing and (and later editing) blogs, newsletters, curricula, and newspapers. I wrote about meeting Margaret Atwood, and she shared the article on Twitter. Now I’ve begun editing professionally.

Find your calling, first, then find out who does it well. In a few years, people will try to find you.

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