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.

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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.

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…

Don’t be a Deer

I haven’t been in this position often. But it is one where time and time again I find myself observing others being in. Now the reason for me personally not being in this position is because of the tendency of both myself and my girlfriend at the time of sequestered ourselves from the outside world, hanging out together just the two of us, all the time. This leaves us far away from any outside distractions, able to do as we wish without being thrust into this uncomfortable position. This position I’m referring to is called being a deer caught in headlights, relationship version.

It happens when you’re at a social event, like a house party or a club, and you and your new girlfriend are enjoying a fairly good night. Being the savvy gentleman you are, it’s time to introduce her to your friends for the first time. You decide you will introduce her to your friends who are in relationships first, as you figure, since being locked down as well they get the relationship thing, while as your single friends are most likely looking for something and will be eyeing your new girlfriend.

However you just made a big mistake. Your friends, who are in relationships, see this as an opportunity to make passes on your girlfriend, which you thought would only be done by your single friends. Suddenly, they are talking with your girlfriend with ease, casually flirting, leaving you in the background, with only careful nods and a blank look on your face…the deer caught in headlights face. Your role has shifted now from boyfriend to deer. With little to say because of being in shock, you become insignificant wishing your friend would just shut up so you can spend time with your girlfriend. However, because of the “I have a girlfriend already so it’s not flirting” mentality of your friend (probably a “friend” at this point) he doesn’t get the cue to stop and your left helpless.

So what do you do? As I have said before, I have observed this on many occasions. So I’ve come up with a couple suggestions in hopes that this doesn’t happen to you.

Establish your ground

Did you hit on your friends girlfriends when they first introduced themselves? Probably not. The reason is they established their ground. Be a man. Give her a big hug and say: “Guys, I’d like you to meet my girlfriend _____?”. Seal it with a butt slap. Nothing tells another guy whose boss better than a butt slap.

Give her space

Sometimes the tendency to stop behaviour occurs when you leave the situation. By hanging around perhaps it gives your friend cause to keep talking together because technically you are right beside her (but are not particpating in the conversation). So leave them alone. Go chat with other friends for a bit. Hopefully she gets bored and decides to find you.

Say something

Say something to your girlfriend, to take the conversation back into your control, shifting  her focus back on you and not your friend. There’s no reason to be uncomfortable with your own girlfriend? She is your girlfriend remember?

Conclusion

No one wants to have the deer in headlights look on their face. It’s an uncomfortable and weird feeling for a guy. I’ve seen too many friends get trapped into this predicament. But there is a way out. Use my tips. If you choose not to, at least you were warned. Because having that deer caught in headlights look could last as your impression on your face for quite some time. Or maybe even forever.