Realizations: Convocation and the Road to Becoming

I have officially completed and graduated from my Bachelor of Arts in Communication. Those who are close to me know that I have felt every need to voice my unenthusiasm about this milestone, so I will start with that first. The days approaching June 12, the date of my convocation, was dreadful. I was not sure what the point of this was until someone told me it was a celebration of a milestone. Then it got even worse for me. What did I have to celebrate? Upon finishing my last class in December, I was determined to find a full-time, entry-level job at a NGO. I sent out numbers of resumes and cover letters on the daily in the beginning of the year. The lack of feedback robbed me of my confidence. I went from asking myself questions such as, “am I not good enough?”, to answering them with, “yes, you are not good enough”. The fine line between living and existing was more and more visible to me and I was slowly toppling over to the latter.

One of my closest friend told me that we need to celebrate ourselves for all the big and small milestones, such as finally making it out to the gym (without making a U-turn to get some sushi take-out and binge watch Orange Is The New Black instead, that may have happened before). She said that such positive reinforcement will eventually cause your brain to crave more of that good-good feelings of accomplishment.

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The day came and I couldn’t help it but allow myself to be excited. There was something about being in a room with hundreds of other fresh graduates who were probably just as scared as I was. We all chose a degree that gave us immense freedom in the road of becoming. Sometimes I think to myself, I wish I went for a specified trade instead. As the road to becoming became blurry, I almost forgot why I chose this very major. I love to write. I love to explore about how the news communicates to us. I love incorporating critical thinking into my daily life. I love to research about minority issues relating race and gender and then bringing them to light through words. This major allowed me to discover my true passion and calling in life – to help those less fortunate in society. I can be whoever I want to be, and that’s scary as hell. But it should be scary, and it should be unpredictable, that is how you become interesting.

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More often than not, the person who is hardest on myself is me. While tough love works at times, it has been causing more harm than good to my self-esteem. I need to remember that confidence is developed from within and not given by others. Be kind to yourselves.

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The Thick Skinned are those that win the Race

Have you heard about ‘coffee dates’? Where individuals basically message strangers and say something along the lines of, ” Hi! I am _________ and I am working towards my goal of becoming a __________. I find that what you have accomplished in your life so far is an inspiration. I was wondering if I would be able to buy you a coffee and ten minutes of your time to chat about the road to becoming a __________” (for me, the blank would be ‘human rights activist’). I never really gave this much thought until two separate people told me that that was how they found their jobs. Interestingly enough, those conversations that provided me with a novel epiphany happened during a party in someone’s garage. (Note to self: you will never know when you will come face-to-face with new opportunities!)

The people who suggested this idea to me were likeminded people – individuals who want to do good and make a difference in this world. I have been in such a stump since applying for over a hundred jobs and not getting one single call back in January that I have taken a break from accomplishing my dream. I am now currently working two part-time jobs, of course still volunteering, but I definitely know that my brain is craving more at this time and age. I am not one to be satisfied by a 9 to 5 job where I can leave my job at work. I want to have a job where I can help people, where I will want to think about it when I come home after and talk about it with my significant other, where I don’t even think of it as a ‘job’, more like my dream. I am craving for that day. What is the worst that can happen when you approach someone for a coffee date? By being ignored? I think I can handle that.

If you have done this before, leave a comment below! I would love some inspiration.

Brave

There has been a lot of conversations about Bruce Jenner lately. Some are supportive, some are eager to show their discontent, and many are silent. I understand that the topic of trans-gender people is novel and uncomfortable for some people. I understand that it may just be that they do not know what is the ‘correct’ way of discussing it. However I believe that it is a conversation that needs to be addressed as much as possible. By intelligently talking about it, we are better able to see the prejudices that we carry with us.

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If we can finally accept the fact that gender and sex is not black and white, if we can finally accept the Kinsey scale (which was introduced over FIFTY years ago), if we can finally look at our prejudices without making excuses for them and blaming society or politics, then maybe that is the moment we can finally make a tangible impact for trans-gender people such as rights, legal protections, and the simplest respect.

Starting my own ‘Stranger Project’

A simple hello could lead to a million things.

Gentrification has been taking over my city for many years now. It’s almost as if I didn’t have a choice to participate or not, I just got swooped up like I was a piece of furniture in a tornado storm to partake in this process. To say that I am against it brings lots of ironies. But in the past five or so years, I have learned a lot about myself to know that I am not entirely okay with the ever-growing divide between those who are buying million dollar homes and those who are struggling to find social housing.

Being a twenty-something year old who just graduated, I have a lot of problems of my own. I want to find a full-time job, I’m trying to save up for my next big vacation, I am trying to study for GRE, etc. Repeatedly I am talking about myself and my own ‘problems’, which really aren’t even problems, they are really just a part of life.

I’m not going to speak for others but I often get inspired by those who take the time out of their own lives to speak to complete strangers. For example, The Stranger Project (http://www.thestrangerproject.ca/) and Humans of New York (http://www.humansofnewyork.com/). When did we start to get so caught up with our own daily lives that we forgot about the very things humans are wired to crave and desire for – intimacy and communication?

I still remember a few years ago when I would walk down the streets of Downtown, Vancouver and I’d break a ten dollar bill just to hand out loonies to the homeless. I thought I was doing my due diligence. As I became older, I joined the Union Gospel Mission (http://www.ugm.ca/) where I learned so much more about the ethics of handing out money to people. I began giving out food whenever I could because while I have no rights to take judgement on what people do with the money I give them, I know I do not want play a part in a possible drug deal.

Finally with the beginning of 2015, I decided to start my own ‘stranger project’. Along with bringing some extra fruits and crackers with me whenever I head down to a more rough neighbourhood, I began talking to those on the street. With a simple, “how’s it going today?”, or “what’s your name?” and I was amazed at how quickly people were opening up to me. I don’t do this just because it makes me feel good, but I truly believe that this is what we’re supposed to do – to care for one another.

I am honestly quite a shy person because I overthink every single conversation and interaction in my life. But what I know is that I would not act on something I do not feel genuine about and I believe that being true and being yourself really transcends to the other person. So next time you’re walking down the street on your way to work or to meet a friend, take out those headphones from your ears and just look around and smile, because you really never know who would smile back.