My First Year at University

My first year at university is over. Finished my last exam yesterday. Finally. What a whacky exam schedule I had. No exams the first 2 weeks. Then one. Then 2 in one day. universityThen one so late, the one yesterday. Annoying. But the same can not be said of my first year at university. It was…well just read the following to find out.

The opening scene

Firstly, I always wanted to go to the university I currently attend. Maybe because of the fact my two older sisters went there, but probably also because I thought it was the better school when comparing it to the other university it town, except for a few programs. So there was a little prestige factor here and getting into where I always wanted to go pumped me up, so I looked at being a big positive.

With that in mind, I went to campus with my smile plastered across my face as usual, ready to meet people. So off to class I went, diving headfirst into the university environment.

The classes

I had to take a lot of first year courses this year (to get them outta the way) and a couple compulsory courses. Let’s just say I’m glad I’m not 18 anymore. University would be too crazy for me and I definitely would flunk. There are some people who obviously shouldn’t be there. But this isn’t about them it’s mine, so I digress.

The classes were good, some could have gone better and there were some 1st year ones which completed blowed. For example, in 1st year business class where I took the leadership role (organizing group meetings, dividing the work, helping other group members with their parts) for our major project, it ended up blowing up in my face. People missed deadlines and work was handed in that wasn’t good enough.  Wish I could have had more help. Hopefully next year, I’ll be more energized and be in classes a little more relevant (although interpersonal communication and learning how to break up with a girl truly helped —> sarcasm) so that I’m more focused.

The fun

I’m probably weird in saying this but I love commuting. There is something about the commute to work or school  which I enjoy getting up for (very early for work I might add) everyday. So the ride downtown to campus was always a blast. When you get to campus it is even better. A population of students has to be one of the funner environments you can enter. There are all different types of people, some fulfilling stereotypes some not, which makes for great people watching, as well as interacting with them, fun. Other than the people you see though it’s also the people you meet that make the sometimes long days of school enjoyable.

I met one of my Nigerian brothers, C, we’ll call him, and we started going to the gym together. We both have older brothers and it  was funny because he said he wanted to bigger than his. Me and my brother always say the same thing and strive in the summer to out gym each other. I barely win, he usually does. So me and C went to the gym together, had classes together, and hung out. Good guy.

During the year there were a few girls that were in most of my classes and we worked together on a number of projects. Although nice, I had minor issues with a few of them re: communication. Overall, we formed good working relationships and did well on the projects we worked on though I wish (as I always do because of procrastination)  we could have had more time to perfect them. Stupid deadlines.

Lastly, I  was able to volunteer at school, something which I wanted to do from the start. At first, I applied to be a part of a special committee for students at school but didn’t make the cut. Too cool apparently. So I found a sports announcing position with the school, doing play by play for the  woman’s basketball team in second semester. It was awesome…my dream job, as I’ve wanted to do sports broadcasting since I was a little kid. I should have that gig for next year so I’m pumped to get back into it. Had great partners for the games and we always kept it light on the air. Looking forward to more next year.

Till next year

University is a different world than college. It’s bigger, as expected, and there is a lot more to get into, with all the clubs, societies, sports, and volunteer opportunities..Announcing the women’s basketball games made me feel I was really part of the school, which was different than my 2 years in college.

Also I feel like university is more about the professor, while in college it feels like it is more about the courses. The prof’s style has a huge impact on your learning experience while in college this is less pronounced.

I tend to agree with the idea of university being more theory based learning  vs. practical based learning of college but that doesn’t mean the two camps are that distinctly defined. My English class in 1st year university was my favourite class, due to the fact it had a good blend of both. Let’s hope that next year there will be new exciting classes, more fun, and lot’s of interesting people to meet as the finish line to my university career I can see up ahead…

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E-shopping on Esprit

It was a little over a year ago when I was introduced to Esprit by a friend. He was adamant I check out this store withesprit him, so we went into their retail location at the local mall and I was impressed with what I found. European style men’s clothes at affordable prices. Shopping is really enjoyable when good style and great prices go together, but sometimes getting to the mall is the hard part. After work, I’m not too keen on staying in the downtown core and shopping. So what’s better? E-shopping. So that’s what I do. E-shop on Esprit. And I have to say I’m pretty addicted to it.

Giving my e-mail to Esprit was probably the worst decision I’ve ever made. They send me an e-mail about once a week, with sales allowing me to save 30 – 40% . All I have to do is put in the a promo code, fill up my cart, and checkout.  They don’t get me every week, I’m not that rich, but they usually get me once a month. What makes me buy so much from them? It is all about their product, European style clothing, which has made me completely tied to their brand.

Good brands become personal. You adopt it, defend it and sell it to others. This exactly what Esprit is to me. I love their clothes (adopt), stand tall in them and say the European style suites me the best (defend) and I’m able to sell it to others. For example, once I really nice striped long sleeve sweater one size too big from their online store, so I gave it to my brother. He asked where I got it and I told him Esprit. Now he is aware of the brand and is able to vouch for it as being good. I’ve converted him into a walking billboard of the Esprit brand. Too bad I won’t get paid from them for that.

Although e-shopping is fast and efficient on Esprit, paying the nasty duty is something I could live without. However, more importantly, the thing is is sometimes I miss going into the store and experiencing what it was like the first time I discovered the brand. A brand is about a relationship.That experience of going into the store that first time with my friend, was when I started a relationship with Esprit. The staff were friendly, and I walked out with a bunch of clothes knowing I made purchases that fit my budget. Plus, sitting on your computer buying stuff  in your basement isn’t as fun. You miss out on all the cuties at the mall.  And you can’t blame me for that can you?

Girls I Want To Party With This Summer

I’m a single guy and summer’s coming. The market is open and everyone is ready for fun. It’s party time. So with this in mind, I made a list of the top 3 girls (probably single as well) who would be fun to party with. No relationship routine here. Just fun times. So here it is. Babatunde’s top 3 girls he wants to party with for the summer:

3. Gaga

Not a big Lady Gaga fan. Girl has a voice and talent. Yes. But I mean she’s too out there, not very pretty and is playing the role of Madonna for our generation quite well. With that said it would be a good time partying with her though. Because there are so many girls that really love Gaga, I would probably have a better  selection of girls to choose from than just Gaga herself.  In the end though, I don’t see myself becoming one of Gaga’s “little monsters”, leaving her at #3. Let’s take a look at a better option of a girl I’d like to party with this summer at #2.

2. Kesha

Kesha, or Kesh as I like to call her, is much better. There is something about a girl like her that guy’s can appreciate, with her hair always in a mess, she has that “dirty” look perfected. She’s the type of girl you get drunk with and then stay up all night with. Kesh has an attitude which always seems to stand out. It’s something she plays with a lot in her music videos. As well, she’s my age, so there’s a nice fit there and we’d probably have a lot more in common than Gaga. Anyways check out this video of Kesh in “Dirty Picture” with Taio Cruz to see what I’m talking about with Kesh. An intriguing option at #2, Kesh doesn’t have quite what it takes to be #1 on the list of girls to party with this summer.

1. Dev

Number one on the list. She’s the most attractive of the 3 by far. If I had to compare her to another female artist, Dev’s sort of like this generations version of Nelly Furtado, with a different and unique style. Like I said she’s attractive, but it’s not all about her looks though. Dev has a sick voice, and lots of personality as evidenced by her twitter handle @Devishot (you know you’re the shit with a twitter handle like that).

Dev was in the song “Like a G6” which got a lot of radio airplay both in the U.S. and  Canada which made her a lot more well known. Dev is touring this summer all across the U.S. and some venues in Canada according to her Myspace page, to push herself as an artist. It seems she’ll be in Toronto on June 10th at the Sound Academy. Might check it out, since Toronto is almost becoming a second home for me.

Here she is in the video, “Backseat”. You’ll see what I’m talking about.

Fast Five

Fast five, the latest movie in the Fast and Furious movie series comes out at the end of April. As much as a fan of the series I am, the 1st movie, Fast and Furious is on my top 10 movies list and I’ve watched it at least 10 times, this post isn’t about the new movie. No, the “fast five” I’m talking about is it being a fast five years for me in terms of postsecondary schooling. I’ve been in post secondary for five years, 4 in college and 1 in university thus far, with 1 1/2 years left to go. This has been the fastest year to date as well. I confirmed this by talking to my peers who are also in school. So what has happend during these 5 years in post secondary? Lots. But I’ll try to sum it up best in 3 major areas: school, work, and love.

School

I graduated high school without a clue of what to do. Well I had one clue. I didn’t want to go to university to do a 4 year degree in Poli Sci or English, something very general and I was barely interested in. So with that in mind I turned to Algonquin College. Didn’t know much about the school, or that we even had a college in Ottawa to be honest. But I went into General Arts and Science, the pre-media stream, a 2 year program, and decided to try it out.

Two years of pre-media ended up being one year. Because in pre-media, specifically in media dynamics class, I chose to do my major project on PR. A passion was born and I was outta there. For the project, I interviewed the communications director at Casino Lac Leamy and a woman (who has been a helpful mentor to me to this day) that runs her own PR firm downtown. I learned more about PR as a profession and career and since it also so happened that Algonquin had a PR program, I took the test and got in to start the PR program for the next year.

It was supposed to be 2 years of PR, but ended up being 3 (7 classes/semester and too much fun I guess). Which was fine because it just so happened (I’m a lucky guy if you haven’t noticed yet) that UOttawa created a PR program the year I finally graduated Algonquin. Sweet. I could continue learning about PR, for a degree now, with my diploma in my backpocket. And here I am. Uottawa PR student.  Little over a year to go.

Work

I’ve worked a lot of jobs since high school. About 8. All with a female manager or supervisor. All of them in either retail or customer service. These are the entry level jobs where you have people who stay for 3 days, 3 months, 3 years or 3 decades. You get people from all stages in their life, which makes for interesting conversation while on the job. From these conversations I was able to learn a lot though. By taking other people’s views and opinions and compairing them to my own perconceived ideas, I discovered I was way off on some things, bang on with others, and perhaps had to think more on certain things. Overall, these conversations increased my knowledge of the world around me and for that I’m greatful.

However, sometimes I wonder if all the job changes were necessary. I left jobs, quit jobs, got fired from one job. But in the end, looking back at where I am today, it was necessary. I’m really one of those people who believes everything happens for a reason. The jobs I liked I held down, starting with my first job at a major department retailer and with my current job at the government. The ones I quit, where not important as I had already secured another job. And the job I got fired from, I decided that talking to my friend was more important than working.

It was with holding down my first and current job though, is where I felt I’ve learned the most. Because as you grow older in an organization, other moving parts (like co-workers from different stages in their life as I mentioned earlier) come on board and you have to adapt and adjust to this newly created work environment. As well, you might get added roles, responsibility, and more pressure. So with those challenges, I’m glad I’ve lasted this long in my current job and ready for the new opportunites that await.

Love

Love can be mushy. Let’s try not to make it that way. However, thats probably impossible. Looking back on my “1st love” (so lame writing like that) it was crazy all the things we got into. Being young and in love applies here. Being in love you grow, learning more about your needs and your partners. After 2 years in a deeply commited relationship, I decided that this was not the way I wanted things to go in terms of my needs. The future looked very cloudy. So I left and moved onto something different.

That something different was very different but just as exciting as the 1st love. You have to agree, that the beginning of a relationship is the best time. You’re full of excitement and the possbility of what can happen is pretty much wide open. Possibility is the positive word in a new relationship but sometimes another p word, problems, becomes something that you can’t escape.

Romantic relationships are tough to say the least. Saying they are rough is probably better. However, it’s all in the way you handle them. In my 5 years of being in romantic relationships, I’ve always been extremely honest. To the point where I have a clear conscious and know I didn’t fool myself or lead on my partner for the duration of the relationship.

I’m not a big fan of being in a relationship for the sake of being in one. Over time, I think that in your 20s as you have love for someone and as you mature, you run into the decision of how you want to make it all function along with school and work, so everything can co-exist in a beneficial way for you and your partner. I have a lot more to say these 3 areas (school, work, and love)  for y’all. Stay tuned this summer.

Fin

It’s been a fast five. So many lessons learned in school, work, and love. Makes me feel old. I’m more knowledgeable than the 18 year old kid who stepped out of a clicky, abnormal social envrionment, into a world with endless possibilities though. That is probably the greatest thing about today. In all 3 areas, there is limitless potential. I just hope the next 5 years are as good as the last 5. And that they go a little slower.

Financial Fun

A couple of clicks and I was done. I had just finish filling my dad’s TFSA account up with a diversified portfolio of stocks. That’s all it took. A couple clicks here and a couple clicks there. Now, I’m no financial planner either. Just a PR student who is pretty interested in investing. I hope for my dad’s sake that “pretty interested” means “knows what I’m doing” though. I guess we will find out in a couple of years.

I’m addicted to the stock market. Everyday I read the business section. Everyday I check my stocks. Everyday I think about my stocks. But its ok.  It’s great to have passion. As long as it doesn’t consume you. I still go to work, go to school, and volunteer, so I think I’m doing ok. But how did I get here? Let me tell you how finance became so much fun for me.

It started back during high school. I got involved in one of those pyramid scheme financial companies. I thought I was on my way to riches but it was definitely a scam. However, I learned a lot from it, the basics of personal finance and financial planning, which sparked an interest in me and made me do more research on these topics. After leaving the company, I started looking at finance more seriously, or so I thought. I ended getting into trouble with it first.

I got into a lot of debt. Credit card debt. The worst kind.Through my late teen years, I spent a lot and bought pretty much anything I wanted at the moment, until I completely maxed out my credit card with two grand on it. Paying 20% interest on a two grand card hurt for a while. After getting help from my parents, in the from of securing a LOC (line of credit), I had learned my lesson. Hmm this story was supposed to be fun. Sort of depressing right now. Anyways two important lessons were learned. No pyramid schemes. No bad purchases on credit cards. Now onto the fun.

The fun started with research. I looked at some financial blogs, like Canadian Capitalist, the Dividend Guy, and a few others. I learned new things from these sites and continued to do my own research. The financial world, is a vast one with so much information out there, so I stuck to areas I was interested in (technology stocks, dividend stocks, balanced funds, etc.) and learned a lot. Until I got into the area of precious resources, mining companies, specifically companies that mined gold. Now this is where things go really fun.

Gold has been the best investment of the last decade. Bar none. From 2000 – 2010, if you left your money in gold you would have made over a couple hundred percent profits. Yep, hundred. I’m not going to get into why that’s the case. There is enough information on the Internet why this happened and why precious metals are doing so well right now in this current economic climate. I just want to tell you about how was able to strike gold personally and realize some of these massive gains.

Primarily because of research done by a friend and then my own research, aka due diligence, pointed me to a specific Canadian gold mining  company, I invested into last summer. All in. So far it’s been a fun ride. I was able to take some profits off the table and buy my Sony Vaio laptop because of my investment.  Things are looking good and I hope to invest more. Obviously, I should probably diversify, as well as consult a financial advisor, with more knowledge on how to grow my money, but being young I am afforded a lot more risk at my age. As well, if your convicted of something, diversification for diversification’s sake is silly. Throwing money in an investment that doesn’t have legs just so your money is spread around, doesn’t make sense to me. Go with your gut, your goals, and do your due diligence and hopefully with all those combined you will end up being able to enjoy some financial fun.

Night of Networking – Part 2

It bears repeating that in networking, like so much in life, you get out of it how much you put in. Mind you, it also helps to have a gameplan. I came into last month’s networking event with a gameplan. I wanted to gather information on my interests, specially in writing, starting my own business, grad school, and French. I know. Very ambitious. And yes, I am a dreamer. Nonetheless, I received great infromation that night pertaining to my interests which I thought it would be worthwilde to share.

Writing

My first stop at the networking event led me to a technical writer at Oracle, one of the largest computer software companies in the world. At the table I sat down and starting talking to our friend at Oracle, we’ll call him Jeff, pestering him with a bunch of questions. However, there were 2 problems. First, the networking session hadn’t started yet. Second, I did not have a notebook and pen. So I retreated back to gather both of those things and begin to write things down.

One of the first things I wrote down and learned from Jeff was that small words really do matter. This really hit me. Especially when looking at this blog. The ideas on what to write as content come out fairly quickly (as evidenced by the number of categories on the home page). But to make everything flow and come out the way I have it in my head to the screen requries editing, which to be honest, I hate.

A big part of editing is about finding the right words, usually the small ones, that make things flow perfectly. Jeff’s job as a technical writer, is all about having the small words in place and being having a good deal of consitency to what you write, the same lay out and look all the time, as key requirements for his job.  Thsese two things, paying attention to the small words and being consitent in my writing, are things I definitely want to transfer here at my blog and in other creative writing endeavours…

Business

I have been reading a lot of business books lately. Just finished The Knack, will have a review on it in some point on the blog. I am convinced of 3 major things regarding business, specifically owning your own business. One, it gives you the opportunity to define your career more in your own terms. Instead of your career focssing soley on your day job, you can put time into a business which may be more suited to your true passion and what you want to do. Two, having a business provides a tax benefit. The ability to write things off as business expenses is beneficial to growing your business. Three, and probably most important is having a successful business, gives you control over your freedom. I like to think of myself as a creative person. Being able to use my creativity and talent to provide a service to others for money is awesome. Think Facebook. Zuckerberg is a billionaire because of an idea, being a computer wizard, and being a bit sneaky (if you believe how things played out in The Social Network). Who wouldn’t want to be like that? Those gears for having my own business, that already had been moving, are cranking up a little faster now…

Grad school

Some people can really sell things well. They are the types of people who are able to make you leave with the product even if you thought it was too expensive in the first place. On my networking evening, this person was  one of my communication professors, who did a great sell job on me in regards to grad school. I always had the idea of contiuning my education to further expand my learning as well as to delay “real life”  as much as possible. I find school fun, even though this last semester sucked, and the things you can get in school (building new relationships with diverse people, the academic challegenge/grind, and campus life) really make it a unique and well worth life experience to go through.

So with all that in mind, my professor talked a good game. She asked me a question that I would explore in a master’s environment. I answered with the effect that Facebook is having on people in terms of them wanting to do what they saw their friends doing. For example, your friend posts pics on Facebook of a trip to Cuba. Now you think you should go to Cuba since it looked so amazing. She said that is the sort of research question that you could explore and possibly people are exploring, social media and its effects on people. Cool. Grad school. Another avenue to keep open…

French

Living in Ottawa and working in the government are two things that just seemingly go hand in hand. A third thing that completes this picture is being able to speak French. As a bilingual city, it is a necessity that for many government jobs you can speak French or your going to get screeened out. So at one of the tables I got some really good tips on taking steps on how to learn French.

First, I learned that I should try and emerse myself in the French environment. What that means is to not be shy, ask a lot of questions and try and conversate with French people. Taking it a step further, I do know of people who would go to a French universtiy in the summer to study French or to go to a small town in Quebec and live with a family to learn French. Probably a bit too much for me at this point but perhaps something to consider as a last resort if this tip and these other two don’t work.

Secondly, she said to teach English to a French person. This was interesting. I had to repeat what she said to make sure she actually meant this. I’m figuring that what she meant is by me teaching them a language that they are not familiar with they could in turn teach me a language I’m not familar with, that being French. That would be interesting. Have to test it out.

Thirdly, she told me to watch a movie in which you know the plot well and have seen many times in English, but with French subtitles. By following the conversations of the characters in the movie that you know well in English with theFrench subtitles, your ability to undertand what conversational French is like will improve.

Conclusion

Hopefully you were able to learn a bit from my night of networking. It was a great time and these are the types of events that really complement traditional classroom learning. I’m equipped with useful information that I can actually put into action in hopes of improving myself. I’d call that a successful night of networking, wouldn’t you?

Taking an Interest

I’ve always had good relationships with people older than me. Perhaps it’s because I’m the youngest of 4 children and I had to obey what my 3 older and stronger siblings told me, so that I wouldn’t get crushed. However, as I got older, these relationships with my siblings changed, as I matured and so that they moved from one of fear into one of mutual respect and acceptance.

This respect for my elders is something that has stayed with me today. Especially when I talk about one elder in particular who I just spent this past weekend with in Toronto. He’s much older, 60 plus (I’ve never asked him his age), tall, and loves sports. The latter is what we really share in common. Whether it be hockey games, with the Ottawa 67’s which he’s been taking me for years, or with the Toronto Blue Jays, where we checked out the Blue Jays home opening games, we always have a good time.

Now this isn’t one of those cases where my buddy, we’ll call him Sam, is taking me under his wing as his own child. He already has 4. It’s just one of those relationships that you wish everyone could have, an older friend that you share a lot in common with and enjoy chilling with.

Sam is basically my adopted dad. My parents joke all the time about him in that way. Although I already have a great father, having what amounts to almost a second one is pretty cool.

Sam has a lot of great qualities. The quality about him I appreciate probably the most is that he’s straight to the point. He’ll offer to take me to  hockey games, and if I say no, no big deal. He accepts it and moves on. Not like some of my friends my age who keep pestering me to do things I’m just not feeling at the moment.

Another trait about Sam is he likes to talk. So do I. We can talk about the Blue Jays, 67s, or the Senators, whether it’s on the phone or in person for quite some time. Unfourtunatly, the talk on the Ottawa sports scene for Sam and I has been dull, since the Senators have been long out of the playoffs and the 67s got recently swept in the 1st round. Go Blue Jays!

Finally, Sam is really cool. He just gets it. Although much older than me, he gives me my space and understands as our relationships has grown, I may not want to do the same things today as much as I did in the past. That means less 67s games. However, road trips (which I have always loved, did a road trip to Orlando a few years back) to see the Blue Jays and friends have replaced that. In my opinion, that is a sign of a good relationship. Even if it evolves to where maybe you aren’t doing the same things as before, you still make time to hang out in some capacity.

So who is the Sam in your life? It’s always nice when someone outside your family, peers, or girlfriend/boyfriend takes an interest in you. The more friends the merrier I think.  Especially if you’re me and sports is your thing. Because after all the fun of last weekends games, me and Sam are already gearing up for when the next Blue Jays trip is. I think in July maybe? The New York Yankees are in town…