Goodbye 2011

First things first, I have to say I was very blessed with a big capital B in 2011! It was a year in which the good things that are opportunity, luck, and desire came together to make things happen for me.

At times it felt overwhelming to work three jobs, go to school full-time for five classes, and volunteer but everything I was doing I was really into and in the end luckily (there’s that word again) it worked better than I thought it would. So with that  said here is my goodbye to 2011, or review of 2011 if you rather, looking at what happened in work, school, and what I learned in 2011.

Disclaimer: The following views are my personal views and not the views of my employers.

Work

Work dominated my life in 2011. Things started fairly simple enough with my continued employment at my government job of three plus years, but by the end of 2011, I added two others, pushing my work commitments to three. Surprisingly, It  went very smoothly. The two positions, both at school, one with the University of Ottawa (uOttawa) and the other with Redwood Strategic working on campus, added to my creativity, leadership, teamwork abilities.

uOttawa – Student Online Community Manager

Being a Student Online Community Manager (SOCM) for the uOttawa was a position I really wanted. The position is one where me, along with a team of three others, engage students at the university through social media, primarily using Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook. You can follow some of the conversation on our Twitter account here.

After attending various networking events that I have written about here, being a SOCM has really allowed me to jump deeper into social media, gain experience in public relations, and help grow the school’s brand online. With planned presentations and a better understanding of what the student population is like, I’m looking forward to connecting with more students at uOttawa this year.

Windows Leader for Redwood Strategic

Getting the SOCM position definitely helped in getting this job.  It was a quick turnaround from applying to the job then getting it but it was amazing how it all worked out.  The first perk of the job was an all expenses paid flight to Toronto. Having not been on a plane since 94’, this was great experience. As well with all of my fun trips to the city  earlier in the year, I welcomed going back again.

In addition to myself, I travelled with three other students from uOttawa. Our group would be joined by other students from provinces all across Canada, from British Columbia to Nova Scotia, for  two days of training and getting to know more about Windows/Microsoft. It’s really cool being able to say you know someone in each province of the country, but there was way more too it than this.

There was more to learn about Microsoft as a company, and what the program, being a Windows leader on the uOttawa campus is all about. Basically our job is to hold personalized demos with students one on one, teaching them how to use Windows 7 effectively in all they do at school.  After having these short demos, for each student that listens to me blab, they get a token of appreciation that enters them into a draw for gift cards as well as a new PC. But it gets better. Microsoft will also donate $5 for every token redeemed, to a maximum of $500, to a campus organization  we choose ( I chose the Centre for Community and Global Engagement) which in short, helps students, faculty and staff at uOttawa find volunteer opportunities as well as supports grassroots initiatives.

In the end it’s a big win for everyone involved, as I get to do what I love doing, networking, the student learns something new, and the organization gets another source of money. As well for Microsoft, they get to re position themselves again as a leader in the tech space, by building a community of people who use their products. After an intense two days, one in which there was a lot of product training on Windows 7 and brand new laptops, the Samsung Series 9 notebooks, the experience was over. I learned so much from true leaders, the founders of the program and those from Campus Perks, who have made their dreams a reality, as well as my  fellow peers from across the country.

School

I’m going to miss school life (I think) when it’s all done. Being six years into postsecondary schooling, now with only one more year left, has me thinking about this. Going to campus, connecting with your peers, is a unique time and experience. Although I won’t miss the bad profs, horrible groups, and useless assignments. With that said last years fall semester went so smooth, as I only had two exams for my five classes, and not a lot of homework. So it wasn’t all that bad.

Three important things I learned in 2011

1. Leadership

I want to be a leader. It’s very satisfying having the responsibility of putting others around you in positions to be successful, being in charge, and also part of the reason for success in what your doing, whether that be on an assignment, project, or another initiative. In 2011, through these different jobs and in school, I got the chance to develop my leadership skills. The respect you get as someone who is counted on for anything, be it opinions, advice or what have you is great. But being able to encourage change and progress is so much better. I think I embraced not standing around, waiting for others to take charge and realized I could do it myself. However, it really is important who you surround yourself with, which leads me into my second point.

2. Teamwork

It’s really important who you surround yourself with. I always thought I knew this in my personal life, with my parents who kept hammering it home to me, in regards to my friends, but it’s clear that in the work and school world it is just as important. In 2011, being on good teams made coming together fun and enjoyable, as everyone was on the same page. This lead to some great results (90 percent on a research project, Windows demos on campus). I’m looking forward to doing more of this in 2012.

3. Preparation, Deadlines, Goals

I learned that paying close attention to each of these three areas was a key for  my success in 2011.  They are intertwined and rely on each other, basically from the point of view that your preparation leads to you making deadlines, which in turn help you reach your goals.

Before I used to set goals that were far in the future, without putting more emphasis on my short term goals. It was important to learn that I need to take more logical steps, to get from A to B first should be a priority, rather than A to C. .

Goodbye 2011

2011 was a amazing year for me to grow more and mature through all these experiences in work, school, and life. Hopefully, using a common sports reference, it was my “breakout season”, and I can continue the momentum into this new year, 2012. There is so much out there and so much possibilities in avenues to take, it’s going to be exciting how it all plays out in 2012.

12 things I’m looking forward to in 2012

I like lists like this. 12 things I’m looking forward to in 2012. I didn’t spend a whole lot of time coming up with the list. I just thought about 12 things which may be in the headlines (and definitely in my headlines) throughout the year. So with that I present to you what I’m looking to in 2012. Note: There are a lot of sports related things.

12. Apple

The ball is in now new Apple CEO Tim Cook’s court to launch the next wave of innovative products for Apple that everyone so desperately desires (not me!). We know Apple’s slick marketing of their products, or often the case slightly upgraded ones, that capture people’s imagination, should always be there, but speculation exists as to what these products will be. Maybe an Apple TV, along with the updated releases of the iPad and iPhone coming this year? With Apple you never know what’s coming until it’s here, but the bigger question is will Cook be able to deliver?

11. CES

One day I’ll go to CES (Consumer Electronics Show. It’s going on right now and it is impossible for me to ignore all the tweets about the event. CES would be a great place to see the new technology coming this year, and meet celebrities, such as Justin Bieber, who was there this year.

10. U.S. Presidential Election

Will it be Mitt Romney vs. Obama? The U.S. presidential election is always of interest. They are still the worlds largest power and most influential nation in the world. However, with the U.S. in a crisis because of the financial meltdown, this is a very important election for our neighbours to the south. Will the next, or current president in Obama, be able to turn the economy around?

9. Movies

We’re specifically talking the Dark Knight Rises here, which comes out this summer and is the end to the Batman trilogy by director Chris Nolan and starring my boy Christian Bale. The previous film, The Dark Knight, is one of my favourite films of all-time. Check out the trailer here.

Oh and the Hobbit is coming out at the end of the year. Sorry, not a huge fan. Although I remember when the trailer came out some people on my Twitter timeline and on Facebook posted excessively about it. Just can’t get into the cheesy movie music.

8. Super Bowl

Whether you actually love the game itself, and we’ve had a run of amazing games the last few years (Giants beating the undefeated Patriots, Steelers over Cardinals, and last year Green Bay over Steelers) or the commercials the Super Bowl is a can’t miss event. Period.

7. Euro 2012

Since there is no World Cup this year (I’d better start saving my money for Brazil in 2014), the next best thing is Euro 2012 this year. What’s at stake is who will be crowned the best team in Europe. Players playing for national pride will make for some exciting football. I’m rooting for Netherlands!

6. NHL playoffs

Playoff hockey is the best. No other word can describe it accurately. It’s so intense, that you are on the edge of your seat for every hit, goal, and save which can change everything in an instant. There is nothing quite like the Stanley Cup Playoffs, as the two month battle to see who will be crowned the best in team in the world of hockey and lift sports most famous trophy is a definite must see event every year.

5. Mad Men returns

Mad men returns in March, with everyone’s favourite womanizer in Don Draper (Played by Jon Hamm). I devoured all of the series last summer, after my brother had been telling me for years to watch it. Glad I did. It’s one of the better drama’s on TV, if you like the whole 1960s advertising angle.

4. Canadian economy

As long as we have hockey, the Canadian economy will be fine. I’m joking. The reality is we are a export nation which is largely dependent on exporting our natural resources and commodities, whether that be two valuable ones for us and the world in fertilizer with Potash Corp or oil with TransCanada Corp.

When looking at issues specific to the country, I’m looking at the housing market, household debt levels (I can’t put down my credit card at times too!) and politics (how will PM Harper finish his term). We’ll continue to get answers on all of these in 2012.

3. European Debt Crisis

It is something I’ve been following for over a year now and there seems no end in sight. In fact, most pundits/economists think things will get even worse in 2012. Leaders of European countries are unsure about the next steps to take to save their nations with their oversized debt loads. Things look to get ugly this year.

2. Finishing school

In 2012 I will be done school, if everything runs it’s course, of course. After 6 years of post-secondary, I will celebrate this achievement, then get onto the full-time quest of finding employment. Yay!

1. Olympics

London is the spot for this year’s summer Olympics. There is no event that unites the eyes across the globe more so than the Olympics, with the Word Cup, the only thing that comes close. I remember back to our nation’s pride with the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. Everyone in Canada was so pumped to be Canadian, it felt like we drew closer as a nation. The Olympics are a special time, and everyone is watching, making it the #1 thing to watch for this year.

10 years Later And The World Changes Again

I was on my way back home from Toronto when I first heard the news. Osama Bin Laden, #1 on the U.S. most wanted list and international terrorist, has been killed and the U.S. has his body. Wow. A moment  like this brought my mind back to roughly 10 years ago, Sept.11, 2001, the first time I experienced such a turn in the world’s history.

There are moments in history where you will remember  exactly where you were when events occur. I remember coming back from gym class when I saw on the TV the news from New York. Two planes had crashed into the World Trade Centers. We know the rest of the story, the images, as unreal as they were that day, still in our memories now.

Today, almost 10 years later, the world changed again. I will now remember when Obama strode up to the podium in the White House to address a nation and the world in how he authorized a U.S. special operation to take out Bin Laden.

Both 9/11 and the death of Bin Laden are things that have shocked the world. We don’t know how things will be now but what we do know is another chapter to our history has been added, now entrenched in our minds and gripping our hearts forever.