Leaving it behind

The “it” in this title is university, which although might sound negative, is nothing further the truth. It’s really just a reflection and Femi and Amesrecollection of the moments that made university life so frustrating and rewarding at the same time.

Not really knowing too many people at convocation (Hey Amelie!) which seemed to be common chatter for many other people made for an interesting graduation day. None of my university friends were present and I was more likely to notice the random guy in Media Industries than anything else. Furthermore, being one of three grads of the Honours Bachelor of Public Relations, and the FIRST (insert applause) from the Algonquin College to University of Ottawa side of the program, the other two were from La Cite, I was really on my own. But you come for the gown, the cheers from the family, and the poses with a piece of paper that cost way too much money.

As a graduate, the obvious unavoidable question you get repeatedly is what are you doing next. I told those who asked about things that were in the works, such as a start-up offer and an interview at a company, but mainly was thinking about the guidance I got from one of the recent books I read.

Books adding to perspective 

A small book entitled “You are Born an Original don’t die a Copy”. It provided me with a level of comfort and guidance in my approach to what’s next to come in my career.

I’ve always liked being aware of what others around me are doing, but try not to envy. This point is further expanded in the book. The book is divided into sections called “nuggets”. The title of this nugget is “If You’re Ripe With Envy You’re Ripe For Problems”. This book is full of quotable material and two of the many I like in this section are:

Some people seem to know how to live everyone’s lives but their own. Envy is the consuming desire to have everyone else a little successful than you are. Don’t measure your success by what other’s haven’t done. 

and

Don’t envy anybody. Every person possesses something no one else has. Develop that one thing and make it outstanding.

Self-help sounds and feels good. It’s fuzzy and gives us that warm feeling. But this was different because this type of self-help was good in the fact it already reinforced my approach, allowing me to believe in what I felt was a positive approach for myself. Everyone has a unique path and looking around at my peer group, with some people married, in long-term relationships or in South East Asia, you see this. But to reach your potential, you have to do what you do, do it well and follow that path wherever that may take you.

Toronto here I come

After spending my living and schooling years in Ottawa  it’s time to make a move to the big city. It’s funny how some people think I’m from Toronto because how much I talk and visit the city. But it’s a pure career move, as job prospect wise it makes sense. Things at the Government where I have four years experience are not looking good. As well,  I come from the camp where Ottawa and Toronto are both fabulous cities but I’ve been aiming for Toronto for a while, as there is a reason I escaped to TO as often as I did, to destroy my wallet in the process, so hopefully in time I’ll find what I’m looking for to experience more rewarding and undoubtedly, but not hopefully, frustrating times.

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Doing more in 2012

The new year is here! I started it off right, celebrating NYE in Montreal, which for those who live or party there often know, is a really fun city. It reminded me of the last time I was in the city, to celebrate mine along with two of my close two friends 21st birthdays. Although it didn’t top that experience, nonetheless it provided great memories and stories. Now onto the blog….

Doing more in 2012. I’m a very optimistic person. it’s in my DNA to be positive. But it’s also good to look back as well (need to get my 2011 review blog up) to things which I did a bit of last year that I’d like to do more of this year.

Blogging

The drafts are there. The posts are not. The excuses are there. The results are not. With that said, I’m just going to do a blog at least once a week in 2012 and see how that goes.

Volunteer

I volunteer at school doing broadcasting a couple uOttawa women’s Gee-Gees games in basketball and soccer respectively, since 2010. I blogged about one of my experiences doing a game last year here.  Doing broadcasting is something I’ve always wanted to do since I was young but this year it would be nice to align myself with volunteer opportunities outside of school, on issues that I’m passionate about (mental health, ageism/elder abuse being the two most prominent ones).

Entrepreneurship

I’ve had this idea to write a book, or an e-book, or short story, basically I’ve had an idea to write something that people will find enjoyable to read, for over 1 1/2 years now. Lets start piecing the pages together and seeing what comes from it.

Let’s do more in 2012

These are three things which I did a bit of in 2011, that I want to do more of this year. Share your own list of things and good luck in doing more this year.

Entering the Superhero World This Summer

Let me start off by saying that I haven’t been to the movies in a while. The last movie I saw in theatre’s was theOttawa-20110606-00031 King’s Speech and I have to admit I fell asleep. Great movie though. But there are movies that I never sleep through or seem to miss: action movies, well specifically superhero movies.They really are the perfect summer movie, since they are visually stunning, with a tight storyline, and full of drama.

I’ve always been into comic books, superheroes, that cool fantasy world (sorry Harry Potter) and the like. I think it’s because I remember back when I was younger, on those lazy summer days, when my brother and I would sit reading the countless collection of amazing Spider-Man comics we had. Whether you read the same comic five times, the storyline, with all the action, placing you in this fantasy world of heroes vs. villains, was always fun. You can imagine how I was when they did the first remake of the Spider-Man movie series staring Toby McGuire and Kirsten Dunst in 2002. It was pretty sick. I was constantly back checking the comics, making sure they did good on t intricacies of  the main characters, Peter Parker and Mary Jane. They did ok. McGuire was super nerdy and Dunst perhaps a little stiff. By the time they reached the 3rd Spider-Man movie, Spider-Man 3, things  went completely nuts and it became my least favourite movie in the series. Think Glee with superheroes singing…no thanks.

Today there is seemingly a new comic book movie coming out every summer weekend. Thor is out. X-Men: First Class came out last week. Green Lantern is coming out, as is Captain America. Not to mention a reboot of the Spider-Man series next year, the Avengers in 2012, and Iron Man 3 in 2013. If you have followed these characters stories in the comic books, like I have for the most part, you get excited with how these movies will turn out. I’m probably most looking forward to Captain America. Set in the WWII period, with the Axis vs. Allies backdrop, it has a different feel than the others which are in more modern settings and is the one I’m really looking forward to see.

Which superhero movie are you going to go see this summer?

Sharing your voice

Yesterday, I received my first edition of my latest magazine subscription obsession, (after forays withfinding your voice yearly subscriptions to SI and GQ magazine) Canadian Business. It’s an awesome publication and I look forward to getting many more. It has a little bit of everything, including the biggies that I love in technology, social networking, marketing, and investing. In its June edition it had an really good article on an Erin Bury, community manager at Sprouter in Toronto (@erinbury on Twitter) and how she has grown her personal brand into an authentic influencer to her network of close to 10,000 Twitter followers.

With that, my mind immediately jumped to Twitter, and all the other marketing/PR pros like Bury that I follow on there. There is a wealth of information they share, from personal opinions, to ideas, to just general observations/commentary of the world around them. It’s great, but I didn’t follow them to simply absorb everything they share and retweet it as gospel. In fact, rather I wanted to have a feel of what the PR world that I hope to enter soon, is like (it’s a small world, especially when viewing my timeline and seeing the consistent chat from PR pros specifically in the U.S. and Canada, as proof of this) and add to this conversation, in my own unique way. That is the great thing about today, with the power of technology, namely the internet and a laptop. Anyone can find and then share their voice to the endless number of conversations that interest them, both professionally and personally.

I’ve seen this right in front of me, by looking no farther than at some of my friends who have started to create their own niches online. In the last couple months, 3 of them have started their own blogs and gotten accounts on Twitter. Their specialties, if we wanted to give each one a specific area of expertise, are in the self help, lifestyle/tech, nutrition spaces. I remember hearing comments, from one of the above (won’t name names) that “Twitter was useless”, and  it had “little value”. Every time I see a tweet or re-tweet of his, I think one more point for me. More so though, it is about how they have embraced their voice and decided it being worthwhile to share and use as benefit to others, which adds value to people seeking information in those areas.

The importance of your online voice (I hope you have a real world one as well) is that you get to provide your views on the world around you, which is important, since everyone’s voice is unique. Looking at an even closer example to me than my friends, is my sister. She is a sports fanatic, who I helped push to start blogging. Often times her thoughts on things in the sports world is usually ahead of what sports broadcasters say, particularly in regards to one of my favourite spectator sports next to soccer, hockey. Having a blog allows her to get her own voice out there, create her own personal brand, which in my opinion, adds another interesting viewpoint and layer to conversation we can’t get enough of,  just as sports caster A does.

I started blogging in 2006. Not  as consistently throughout these past 5 years as now, which is absolutely vital to this endeavour (especially in the beginning) if you want to build your personal brand or become an influencer. But the fact remains that although striving for consistency, what I have shared and added to conversations online thus far, has been something I can be proud of, as being a benefit to others, which makes blogging register as having a strong appeal to me. Along with that is how blogging can help improve your writing skills (the #1 skill for a PR pro), while allowing you to provide unique commentary on a variety of topics/issues, and the simple fun of writing each post, which I treat as a “new assignment”, is a reason why I think everyone should have their own blog. As my friends from outside the PR world can attest with their work, it isn’t all that bad at all.

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.

Ping-pong power

I sprained my hammy. That was the only thought running through my head after over 3 plus hours of ping-pong this past Saturday night. Your only thought probably is how did I end up playing ping-pong for that long. On a Saturday night no less. Well it’s a story that started way back in high school.

High school was at times somewhat awkward for me and my friends. We were a group of immigrants, about 8 guys deep, one of the largest identifiable groups of colour that hung out at my high school by far. We all shared a passion for sports, with specifically soccer being number one, spending virtually our entire 4 years playing indoor soccer in the gym during lunch. Fun times and great memories for sure. However, there was another sport during this time that also had a grasp on me, ping-pong.

Ping-pong in my basement was less of a group affair that indoor soccer was and more of an intense 1 on 1 battle between me and my close friend. We would play a number of games after school, on days where he wanted to delay the dreaded long walk home.

The attractiveness of ping-pong, was simlar to soccer. Both are easy sports to get into. This allowed the competitive juices to flow quite quickly, and soon ping-pong became just as competitve as soccer, as we tried to hit a small plastic ball back and forth at each other, usually with it hitting each others groin or head area. Ouch. But it was fun. Throw in those teenage conversations about girls, the next dance, and the family and ping-pong days became great times to waste a few hours after school.

Now this past weekend, wasn’t like those days. It was way more intense. My friend and I had certainly improved. We both consistently could add spin to our shots, there was more trash talking, and we were even much more competitive than before. No one likes to lose, especially when egged on by a friend who celebrates every winner as the best shot they had ever hit. It was a battle of epic proportions. Even our gallery, consisting of two girls and one referee, were amused with the intensity and focus of our struggle.

After 20 games, with the winner having to reach 21, I surrended. Sore hammy and all I had won 5 of 20 games. A sound beating. However, you had to be there to witness how close the games really were. As well, you would see how my friend, had consumed much less beer than I had, to remain focussed to the task at hand. Nevertheless, a passion in ping-pong was reborn. Maybe the table that’s in the basement needs to be unleashed again, along with training sessions, so that victory will be within my grasp next time?

A Taste of Toronto

This past weekend I had a great time celebrating my best friends birthday (known him since junior kindergarten) in Toronto. Although I had been to Toronto previous times, it was my first in-depth look exploring the city by means of walking around, taking the subway and hitting the club. In fact to be honest, travelling is not really my thing.

The only trip of significance I had been on has a family road trip to Orlando and a trip overseas back to my country of ancestry, Nigeria. That’s it. Missing out on the high school trip to Cancun is a constant source of jeers from my friends. I guess for me, I spend too much time concerned with personal finance, Call of Duty Black Ops and being an awesome human being. But with all of that aside, there is a lot about Toronto I really enjoyed and can be summed up in three points.

First off, Toronto is fast paced. Way more than Ottawa. It seems that in Toronto everyone has a place to go, somewhere to be. I’m used to rushing around here in Ottawa but in Toronto the rush is just so much more.

Going downtown, taking the subway and hanging out at the Eaton centre, is a great example of where you could see the rush. All it was was a great a mess of people, scurrying about, which is something I hadnt really seen, except for say downtown Ottawa on Canada day. Really though, there isn’t much of a compairson. Toronto is  a big, corporate city, full of people who just move faster than in Ottawa, which is a  smaller, more relaxed government city.

Secondly, Toronto is fun. Whether it was settling into my friends pad in Etobicoke, with all the amenities that he would need as a young professional, such as a pool, gym, squash, and even ping pong tables (I grew up with ping pong and love how easy it is to get into), or going out on the Saturday night as we did, there is a lot to do. If you like fun options like these, then I could see how Toronto would be the city for you.

Thirdly, the culture. Toronto is truely a multicultural city. You can see every type of person there, mainly because it is just so big. For me, being multicultual has always been a huge part of who I am. Most of my close friends that I’ve known since kindergarten are of different ethnicities and as a group if you saw us you would recognize such a diverse mix.

So that was my taste of a weekend Toronto in a nutshell. We’ll leave the partying aspects out of it. Let’s not encourage any particular type of behaviour. It’ll be interesting to see how my friend likes it as he adjusts to work there. I already have another friend who says Toronto is his “final destination” to set up and start a career. Perhaps as time unfolds, maybe I’ll be able to say the same.