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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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.

Two in One

April was a good month. Went to Toronto twice in one month, coincidentally on the first and last days of the monthapache burgers. On the first of April I went to the Blue Jays home opener and this past week I went to see a Swedish DJ (@Avicii on Twitter). That was a crazy performance, and now I know what a rave is like. Every time I go to Toronto I seem to have more and more fun in this great city. So let me walk you through what went down.

Ping Pong

I’ve written here before in this space on my rekindled love of ping pong versus one of my best friends. Well I got my revenge over him, on his home turf too.  We played our first series on Friday night and I won the best of 7, 4-3. The next day on Saturday I wasn’t so lucky, as I dropped the best of 7 (5-2 or 4-3 I don’t remember). Always such a great workout ping pong is for me, I also influenced by my fitness freak of a friend to do a tiny workout after our games on Friday, my first workout in a month. I should thank him as it did end up feeling quite good. We can only hope the summer gym membership follows.

Networking

I treat every opportunity interacting with others as an opportunity to network. Love doing it. I enjoy asking a lot of questions to find out more about people or things which I have little previous knowledge or experience in. At a party on Friday, I was able to run into a very charming girl who was a grad of the advertising program at  the same college I went to. Instantly we hooked up (professionally people) exchanged information on my Blackberry and it was done. A connection in Toronto to help start to pry open the doors to being a big city PR hotshot.

When I got back home, I sent her my resume and she sent me hers. It was created with InDesign, blowing my resume away. I should have taken design class more seriously because hers definitely has what it takes to get noticed. Something to think about as I gear up for the job search in the next year or so.

Other Stuff

On my visit I was also able to play the new Mortal Kombat game on the PS3. Craziness ensued with 4 of us guys, along with a girl watching in horror, to try and pull off the sickening finishing fatality moves. My best friend was able to get it off a couple times, more than any of us. Man are they gruesome. Check out this video real quick if you don’t believe me.

I know I’ll be back in Toronto at some point this summer. One of my close friends is moving there (today actually) to take summer classes, so I now have another reason to make the easy trip down there. Plus, the city is growing on me, especially the food.

Loved trying out one of the historic burger joints called Apache Burgers (the picture of the one I went to is above) in Etobicoke. It had former hockey players, mostly Toronto Maple Leafs from the early 90s and earlier (which was hard to stomach) gracing the walls, that gave it that small diner/old school feel. As well sushi is growing on me. I would have never ate it alone, but in the group of guys I was with they “always do sushi” so I tried a bunch of different kinds. It’s such a delicious food. Till we meet again Toronto…

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…

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.