Written by: Peter Widdrington
So York is on strike. It’s official. 100%. Well, more specifically, CUPE 3903 is on strike, meaning that the majority of classes at York University are on hold for the time being. You may be asking yourself, “Why is the union striking again?” Which is fair. Many of us may have had our plans or our education disrupted by the strike, and that can result in many negative feelings. It’s important to not let these negative feelings overwhelm you. In the end, everyone has their reasons and opinions to be for or against a strike, but the best thing we as students can do is stay active and not give up, even when it seems that we are being pushed aside. It’s easy to sulk and complain about what’s happening (which you have every right to), but I also think it’s incredibly important to realize that there is a way to turn an unfortunate situation into an opportunity to learn and gain from. I want to talk about a few things students can do while the University is on strike to make the best out of the situation.
Just because your classes may have stopped, doesn’t mean that you have to. Catch up on any work that you may have let slide, or improve on projects that you previously never had enough time to complete to their fullest. It may sound tempting to use the time off to play video games 24/7, but I guarantee that, once the strike ends, you will feel a whole lot better about yourself if you know that you used the extra time productively. Do you have any personal projects you’ve been putting aside? Perhaps there’s that massive final essay you haven’t even started. Now is definitely the time to give those things the love and attention they deserve!
That being said, the time off from classes can also be used for some much needed relaxation time. If you can, take a trip, visit a new destination, or take a weekend holiday with your friends. One of the weirdly cool things about a University strike (which sounds odd, I know) is that, because no one ever plans for a strike to happen, it’s probably one of the few times in your life you will find yourself completely free without homework, projects, or deadlines influencing your decisions. If travelling isn’t your thing, take the additional time off to catch up on sleep, and I would even recommend doing activities that will help relax you, whatever they might be. Nothing feels better than taking time to do some self-care, and coming back to school completely energized to finish the rest of the year.
In addition to catching up on work and taking some me-time, it’s important to get involved in the discussion and educate yourself about what’s going on. labour.yorku.ca and 3903.cupe.ca are two sites you can easily visit to get a sense of both sides of the story to what’s happening. However, I would also recommend you check out the student message boards on Facebook and other websites to find out what others are saying. Just because you are a student, doesn’t mean that you don’t have a voice in the situation and you can’t let your opinion be heard. If you know anyone who is a contract faculty member or T.A., you may even want to reach out to them to hear their side of the story on what’s going on.
Remember, the strike is only temporary, so use your time wisely. Make the best out of what’s going on, and by the time the strike is over, you’ll be glad you did.