I’ve always loved reading the stories on Humans of New York. I remember being in high school and spending good amounts of time reading people’s stories on Instagram. Every single story—whether they made me smile, laugh, or cry—offered me a rare sense of community and closeness to strangers.
Perusing through the OLC’s SFU Story section gave me that same feeling. Inspired by Humans of New York, the SFU OLC saw the value in accessible storytelling and created SFU Stories to bring together the voices of SFU across all faculties and departments. The diverse range of stories from SFU community members that you may have seen on your Instagram feed are all in one place on the OLC, and I appreciate the ability to sort/filter through the content based on your interests.
Being highly introverted, I find comfort in hearing SFU community members’ stories in written form. They help me to feel less alone in my confusion with choosing a major and figuring out my career path. They also reminded me of the importance of taking time to figure out who I am and what I love and being open to possibilities I have yet to consider.
As a reader, the value of SFU Stories is clear—they can validate your experiences and guide you–wherever you are in your journey–with advice and words of wisdom. Plus, they’re really quick to go through! With SFU Stories being visually based with short text, it’s easy to find yourself immersed in the content. But, having authored one myself, I can tell you for certain that there are benefits for the writer as well.
Slow Down and Reflect
In every stage of life, it’s always nice to block off some time to reflect on where you’ve been, where you are, and where you want to go. Time moves quickly–in my experience, undergraduate degrees fly by even when it feels dreadfully slow in the moment. Reflecting on what matters to me and what I’ve learned over the years allowed me to step back from a fast-paced learning environment and put my career and life goals in perspective.
Low Stakes, Low Commitment Writing Opportunity
If you are someone who isn’t particularly confident in writing, SFU Stories were made for you! As a non-academic platform, sharing a Story is an opportunity to share short-form content with a personal voice. There is also a lot of freedom in how you share your story—you can include a single image, a carousel of images, or a video, along with a short caption.
And rest assured that the OLC recognizes value in all stories–you don’t have to do something exceptional to be featured. Even casual reflections of your time at SFU and everyday advice can be profound in that they can be an important source of inspiration for someone. It also helps to connect shared experiences across campus, combating social isolation through community-building. Everyone has a story to tell—whether that’s being a general member at a club or sharing perspectives as an international student—regardless of what stage you're in with achieving your goals.
Support Others in Their Professional and Personal Development
Sharing sound advice or experiences in experiential learning opportunities can have a huge impact on a reader. You never know whose hands your story will land on. When I was a first-year student, I looked to the Psychology Department’s story campaign to help me gain a steady footing in university. I was overwhelmed with everything I could do while completing my undergraduate degree—volunteer work, research in a lab, Co-op, and no doubt, many more that I probably still don’t know about. Those stories helped me to put faces to these opportunities and thoughtfully consider where I could fit in at SFU. You can do the same for many others by sharing your story.
Help to Build Community on and Beyond Campus
Lastly, SFU Stories help to humanize our university community, pulling away from colonial narratives that devalue community and experiential knowledge. You can help to make life a little less intimidating for someone by talking about both your passions and fears, the life lessons and shortcomings. These personal accounts can bridge the gaps between institutional categories and either remind us of our shared experiences or open our hearts and minds with empathy to experiences different from our own. By sharing your story, you become a part of something bigger than yourself and invite others in, inspiring them to do the same.
Learn more about how to submit an SFU Story on our Submit page. We look forward to reading your story!