I remember the first time I learned of The Medium. It was clubs fair at the beginning of the year, and like most students, I wasn’t burdened with worrying about assignments and tests just yet. I was a third-year transfer student from the University of Alberta walking through the IB building, eager to learn of the clubs and societies UTM had to offer. I recall passing by The Medium’s booth, having no idea The Medium was UTM’s newspaper. When I stopped to inquire further, I chuckled to myself and thought what a clever name it was: one of the definitions of “medium” is a means of expression or a mode of communication. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that all I had to do to join was provide my email, and ever since that day, I have learned from and considerably enjoyed contributing to UTM’s newspaper, The Medium.
Everyone who signs up for The Medium receives a weekly email from the editor of the section you are interested in writing for. This email lists topics which you can choose to write upon. I was interested in writing for the Features section, and therefore, every week, I received an email which included a brief description and a list of potential questions for each topic. No one is obliged to write an article, but if you are interested in one of the topics, you can email the editor who then provides you with all the contact information you need to contact a professor you might be interviewing along with links you can peruse through to gain more information. With the wide amount of helpful information already provided, writing the article is not difficult at all.
For my first article, I had to interview a student who had volunteered at a Rohingya refugee camp. I experienced a moment of panic as before the interview commenced, the Wi-Fi connection would not work and I was unable to review the questions my editor, Jessica Cabral, had sent. Thankfully, I had taken a screenshot of the questions on my phone, and as I pulled the picture up, I silently resolved to always write down the questions in a notebook prior to an interview. Regardless of this tiny technical difficulty, the interview went smoothly and I found myself engrossed in the student’s story and even emotional at times when she recounted the horrors encountered by the refugees. Transcribing the recording was cumbersome. However, when I sat down to write the article, the words flowed easily. Upon completion, I felt a sense of accomplishment at playing a small part in raising awareness of the Rohingya crisis.
The articles I have written range from interviews with professors to analyses of world issues to covering UTM events. I have been exposed to various interesting points of view and researched topics I would have never heard about were it not for The Medium. It has been such an amazing experience listening to UTM’s professors describe their research passionately and learning about many of their unique journeys to academia. I have had the opportunity to write about many of UTM’s research feats including memory’s influence on pain, effects of the legalization of cannabis, and innovations in language. I have covered events such as Giving Tuesday and Alternative Reading Week—all of which are a small component of the wide expanse of topics writers can choose to explore.
Writing for The Medium has not been without its challenges. There is a short time span to interview, transcribe, and write the article however, it is always the writer’s choice to take on a topic and therefore, I do not write an article when I have multiple assignments and term tests during the week. My editor, is extremely understanding and grants extensions whenever there is a reasonable request. Sometimes a scheduled interview may be cancelled at very short notice which can be frustrating if I had only come to campus for the interview. Majority of interviewees I met have been exceedingly kind and punctual.
The few difficulties associated with writing for The Medium largely pale in comparison to the benefits. This may sound cliché, but the first time one of my articles was published and I saw my name in print, it really did feel amazing. I have learned a considerable amount from the edits and advice provided by my editor and I would like to believe my writing has improved. My writing speed has certainly increased and so has my knowledge of what UTM has to offer. This will be my sixteenth article and for my next article, I am honoured to have the opportunity to cover the TEDxUofT event. I highly value my experience writing for The Medium and urge anyone who is interested to sign up promptly. I can assure you that you will not regret it.