Leighton Zink: Keeping a Fifth Year Fresh

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of reading through the note I’ve entitled “Things That Leigh Has Some Understanding Of,” you would know that it’s not particularly long. So, when I sat down to work out the topic for my latest article, I managed to settle the issue with a quick coin toss. Now, we’ve all got the tails-side of a rusty quarter to thank for the subject matter of this fine piece of literature. Lucky thing too: heads was “7 Ways to Keep Warm in a Kilt”.

And if it’s not practical men’s-wear, what else do I really know but the wonders of taking a fifth year? Not to brag, but I already have three months of experience and counting. Sure, I wasn’t always the biggest fifth year fan, but then again, I also wasn’t following my own advice. Since then I’ve come to realize that fifth year is about as worthwhile as you’d have it be. There’s no use complaining, so might as well suit up in your fifth-year sweats and make the most of it.

That said, I’ve gone to the effort of compiling a brief list of potential activities that are both time-intensive and beneficial for those Grade 13 hopefuls. As much as I hate to be numbering things, here we are.

  1. Join a sports team. This is entirely different from being good at sports, mind you. The secret here is to enjoy yourself and get a feel for the team dynamic. It’s a strange mix of competition and camaraderie that you’ll find surprisingly hard to replace—not to mention a healthy way to spend the afternoon. Who knows? With any luck, the skill will come with time.
  2. Find a creative outlet. Practice what you love. Regardless of whether or not you plan to make a career of it, there’s nothing more satisfying than producing something for yourself. Individual projects will help keep your mind occupied and skills up-to-date. I’ve spent the last few months working on a small school publication called FJORD. It’s going all right.
  3. Apply for a job. Hopefully we can add “get a job” to the list too, while we’re at it. Taking Saturday shifts at the Farmer’s Market has been a great way for me to balance the responsibilities of work, with the time-commitments of a high school student. The application process is something you’ll encounter for the rest of your adult years and earning a bit of pocket change certainly won’t hurt either. Last time I checked, university is going to cost a few dollars.
  4. Keep fit. It’s like sports without the schedule. You get to set a few goals, stay active and meet new people. Though at first it may feel a chore, stick with it and you’ll soon see improvement. I’ve been visiting the school’s weight-room on and off for the last three years, and while it’s often a lot more of the “off” and a whole lot less of the “on,” I always make an effort to squeeze in a workout where I can. If you’re not comfortable joining a gym, hop on a bike or take a jog around the block. You’ll be creating habits that will benefit you for a lifetime. Plus, it’s trendy.
  5. Prepare for post-secondary. I have a theory that university websites are intentionally designed to be as unintuitive as possible. That way, the uncommitted are weeded out long before they can ever make it to the admissions office. I have yet to find definitive proof, but you might want to take a swing at the process when you can. Research potential destinations, explore your financial options and get a head start on filling out those forms.

Thanks for being a good sport and sticking with me until the end. The last time anyone paid this much attention to what a fifth-year had to say, Stephen Harper was probably still living at 24 Sussex.