By Sarah Jones
I learned a very valuable lesson this year from Tyler Webb, president of the Ryerson Communication and Design Society. Sadly, it came in the final semester of my last year at Ryerson. With little opportunity to apply his wisdom to my own education, I am sharing it now so that future graduates can take it into consideration. Webb’s insight is simple: do not be afraid of failure.
Whether it’s failing to meet assignment deadlines, failure to cover all the criteria expected in your work, or a personal failing in managing your time, the “F word” is heavy baggage for students to tote through four years of rigorous education.
“That word has so many weird, terrible connotations in the academic world,” said Webb. “But realistically, failing in the post-graduate, professional, ‘real world,’ that’s a badge of honour.”
In the real world, failing is known as ‘trial-and-error,’ and as Webb says, everyone out there knows it is the pathway to success. The fear that clings to that word is something constructed in schools, where our value is judged based on how persistently we adhere to curriculum.
Before becoming President of the newly-created RCDS, Webb was President of the Image Arts course union.
“I fumbled with it and I faltered, and I learned,” he said.
Webb is an example of what fearlessness can get you in university. He came to Ryerson knowing that he’d get out of it exactly what he put in. Through balancing his many roles, Webb learned how to produce work in his field while still maintaining a presence in student organizations.
For students wanting to test their boundaries, the RCDS is currently accepting applications for the executive committee, headed by Webb. These positions are in administration and operations, corporate relations, events, finance and marketing. Students can apply at http://www.rcdsonline.ca/ until April 11.
“Now is the best chance to network, while we’re in school,” said Natasha Mawji, vice president of RCDS marketing.
Next fall, program director positions will become available for all nine of FCAD’s creative industries. In this way, Webb says FCAD will be sure of having a “fully representational society.”
The RCDS was born of a fearless attitude. Although the campaign for a student society met resistance this fall, it was ultimately voted through by a majority of FCAD students. Webb says this demonstrates students’ commitment to their university experiences. We can all surprise ourselves by testing our limits, instead of doggedly trying to play within them.
“People need to be fearless in what they take on,” said Webb.
This story was first published in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on April 9, 2014.