“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Apple Inc.


What I wish I knew before starting University

To begin with, I would like to apologize for stepping back from the blog. Nonetheless, I am here and ready to share some insight as I finish up my Bachelor of Commerce! While some of this advice may be specific towards a Business degree, I still hope it can help guide you in your pursuit of a University degree. Looking back at the five years (yes, it should only take four years and no I am not bitter about the delayed graduation) of my undergraduate degree, there’s a few lessons that I wish others had told me before I began my journey.

Get involved on campus.

As a student club executive, I think others involved in student politics or clubs can relate to this one. Student apathy can be very discouraging to those that actively try to engage the student body. Here’s a general summary of what many undergraduates (including myself) experience.

First year – meet new people, make friends, go to parties, pass classes. Second year – do the same thing as first year, but do it better. Third year – worry about the future and begin planning (*note: plans and actions are not the same thing). Fourth year - examine your resume, panic… and attempt to gain leadership experience.

Now this is definitely not the experience for ALL students. I have met many mature and brilliant first and second years who have it all figured out. They have the head start, win the awards, and get the dream job. If you meet these individuals, befriend them. They will be very helpful to have in your network, somewhere down the line. But if you are among the many that have no particular interest in getting involved, here’s a few considerations that might change your mind.

It looks really, really, really good on a resume. It adds that extra ‘spice’ to your resume, beyond the retail work experience and post-secondary education. Also, in interviews you actually have an example for when they ask you how you manage your time and prioritize.

You have opportunities to advance into larger leadership roles. It’s a great place to learn what type of leader you are before you actually get to the workplace and mistakes become costly.

You will meet some really cool people. And if you don’t, you haven’t joined the right club/campus activity. There are numerous options, don’t be afraid to go to clubs week or orientation week and learn about what groups there are. I guarantee, there is something out there for you. And if not, start your own club – someone else is bound to be interested in the same thing.

You will lose some friends… but it will be OK.

Speaking of meeting new people, you may lose some old ones. This is one of those life stages where everyone is headed in different directions and people find it difficult to stay grounded. You will find out who is willing to make the effort to stay in touch, and it may be tragic, but that’s an important discovery to make. Just know that you will meet some amazing people who may even be in your wedding party someday.

Professors had a life before teaching and some have actually done some really cool things in their time.

I don’t really know what more to say about this point. But trust me, some of them have a wealth of knowledge, a diverse network and might be able to help you get your next job or start your own business. If they’re especially great, they won’t mind being your mentor for the future as well.

Your GPA doesn’t matter… that much. But it does.

What do I mean by that? Well I’ve flipped back and forth on my position regarding this issue. Does your GPA really matter in the grand scheme of things? If you’re like me and haven’t been anywhere near getting on Dean’s List or graduating with Honours you’ll be overjoyed to hear professionals say that GPAs don’t define an individual. It’s true. There are quite a handful of business professionals who I have talked with or had mock interviews that have reassured me that grades are not as significant as students believe. On the other hand, I have scrolled through various job postings (as a soon to be new graduate) where ‘prestigious’ larger companies require transcripts and overall minimum GPAs of 3.2 or what have you. Keep in mind 3.2 is a ballpark minimum, these companies generally prefer 3.5 or higher in addition to your work experience and extracurriculars. Had I known early on that those difficult Calculus or Statistic classes I flunked in my first year would come back to haunt me, I would most likely have tried a little, or a lot, harder. If you have always planned to pursue a graduate degree, you probably don’t need this speech as you have always understood the importance of a high standing GPA. But for those of you that do not plan on doing so, keep in mind that plans change and perhaps you might realize you love academia or have a secret calling to become a lawyer or veterinarian. A poor GPA closes many, many doors – in work and in continuing education.

Do a Co-op program or get ANY job experience related to your degree.

This one may be a bit more focused on Business majors, but I feel that it applies for all degrees. One of my biggest regrets was not joining the Co-op program at my school. This may not have mattered so much if I had gone out and obtained summer work experience related to my degree. But of course, I didn’t. I spent my summers working as a server, making great money from tips and neglecting my future. So it’s up to you – do you value short-term gains or long-term wins?

Being a full-time student is not permanent. Take advantage of all the perks while you still can.

The most obvious advantage are probably the health benefits, tax breaks, and great discounts. Let’s all take a moment to thank society for recognizing that students are generally broke and really, really appreciate the great deals you offer them on food, tickets and everything else.

Cherish your time.

Whether you were at school for a year before dropping out, or dragged your degree(s) out for eight years, the time really does fly. So enjoy yourself. University is not only about education, it’s about personal growth. You’ll meet a lot of different people, you’ll take a lot of different classes (like those weird elective classes nobody knew about), and you’ll learn a lot of things. You will either walk out of university feeling like you learned more than you ever thought possible, or, you’ll leave with the belief that nobody really knows what they’re talking about. Either way, it’s bound to impact your life, so pay attention because these will be “some of the best years of your life”.

jim carrey speech

Jim Carrey’s witty and brilliant Graduation speech

Here’s the graduation speech everyone is raving about. Jim Carrey in all his glory with the next generation of graduates at Maharishi University of Management. He runs us through finding his passion and how he’s gotten to where he is now. A few of my favorite moments from the video (aside from when he tells us it’s okay to eat our feelings with soft-serve ice cream) are:

“So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality.”

“To find real peace, you have to let the armor go. Your need for acceptance can make you invisible in this world.”

“The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is.”

what if money was no object

What If Money Was No Object – Alan Watts

“What If Money Was No Object” is a famous speech recorded by Alan Watts before his passing. Watts was a British philosopher known for his written works and audio recordings. I came across this video years ago and forgot to save it. I’d been searching for it a few years later and to my despair came up with nothing. Turns out, after this video hit 2,000,000 hits it was taken down by Youtube. They have remastered and re-uploaded it.

If you know someone who’s losing sight of their passions hit share and send it their way.

feed the poor fund a war

A speech on War we should all hear

“I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone… we all want to help one another.” 

This speech given by Charlie Chaplin in “The Great Dictator” presses on the issues of how war is affecting each and every one of us. No child grows up with a ‘mass murder’ mentality. And while I am no economist, politician, or soldier I think we can all agree that life is valuable no matter what form it comes in. We make decisions that define who we are and we struggle with balancing our morals and values with society’s expectations.

Manslaughter charges within the confines of our own country result in mass media reports and newspaper cover stories. However when the numerous deaths are racked up overseas, how concerned are we in investigating how justifiable these murders are? The irony of it all is that we call for war in order to sustain peace.

“There is nothing that war has ever achieved, that we could not better achieve without it.” – Havelock Ellis

We can’t all be the Mahatma Gandhi’s and Nelson Mandela’s of the world but we can stand for the dreams they believed in.


Do Things Today

New Year. New You?

What will you do in 2014?

Its been exactly one week since New Years. So we’ve all had time to make those New Years Resolutions or should I say break those New Years resolutions?

Every year we whip out the champagne (that is if you’re doing it right), celebrate the memories we have made and look forward to the upcoming events the new year has to bring us. We note the highlights of the year and reminisce about our highs and lows.  The moments of devastation and heartbreak, the times we laughed so hard we cried and the moments we felt pure, unfiltered, joy. Then we make way for the new. We remove unnecessary things from our lives (such as all the junk food in the house) and pursue things that have greater meaning, that make us feel empowered. We set goals for ourselves and timelines to achieve them.

This whole “A new year brings out a whole new you” speech has been given time and time again. I have heard it, seen it and said it.

“This year is a new year.” 

“Things will be different this time.”

“I am more determined this year than I was last year.”

It’s the same story every time. What people don’t seem to realize is that Jan 1 of the new year is a date on a calendar. It is not a magic erase marker, a fairy godmother who will make all your wishes come true, or a special gift that gives you courage and determination to do all the things that you didn’t do last year. You, at any time have the ability to change yourself or anything in your life that makes you unhappy. A whole whooping 365 days (or 364.25 if you want to get technical) that allow you to take that first step, put your plans into action and change something. It isn’t one day – a symbol – in the whole year that grants you permission to make yourself better. You give yourself permission to do anything in life, and you also give yourself permission to fail at anything in life.

One of the best lessons I have learnt is this:

“If you want to be successful, you have to take 100% responsibility for everything that you experience in your life.” – Jack Canfield

Which means that each moment that you wake, move, think, breathe is your responsibility. The idea of someone breathing for you is utterly absurd, you have to do it yourself in order to survive.  The notion that someone will take responsibility for you is just as preposterous; you have to do it in order to take control of your life.  You don’t just hold the key, you ARE the key to your own potential.

today improve tomorrow

If you don’t like something then Change it. If you can’t or are unwilling to change it- then accept it. Because blaming others, the situation, or destiny for frowning upon you will not create action. So New Years resolution or not, you need to remember that a new year isn’t a new you.

Every Day Can be a New You.