So here goes, last post of the series from me!
Graduation day was an incredible day. It started raining, timings were changed, the TTC shut down, but everyone made it in! When it came time for the graduating fashion class of 2015 to get up and receive our degrees, everything was worth it.
I remembered all the classes I pushed myself to complete, the all-nighters, learning from feedback, presenting at competitions, making mistakes, learning, accomplishments, coffee meetings at Balzacs, the little things. I had struggled here and there throughout my program due to my changing interests. But I had pushed through. In that moment I was proud of myself for making it to graduation.
Being the last post I’m going to write for #RoadFromRyerson, I find myself wondering what can I share with you. Here’s what I’ve finally come up with.
1. Communicate, honestly.
It has been a privilege to share my ups and downs with you. Doing so hopefully allowed me to connect to more people, who may be feeling the same way and would never admit it, and take comfort in knowing your not alone in this uncertainty. It has also helped me: acknowledging everything allowed me to really see how far I’ve come. Finally, if you think about it, honest communication is a very rare thing with far reaching impacts. To explain this, this past week I came across an incredible post written by Sheryl Sandberg. Her husband recently passed away and she wrote an incredibly and hauntingly beautiful post.
What was the most striking, was how open she was with her thoughts and feelings. Every single wall had come down, she completely bypassed fear of judgment, and in that bareness was a raw, genuine beauty. This was pure, human experience. And it really made me for one, stop and think.
In the context of my four years at Ryerson, communication has been critical. It has stopped me from achieving many things and been a roadblock personally and professionally. Addressing and working on it has helped so much. Save yourself the trouble and remember honest communication is key.
2. Neither uncertainty nor accomplishments define you.
What I’ve realized is that neither my ‘successes’ nor my ‘failures’ define me. Not the fashion zone, not my uncertainty about my next steps, not awards or competitions. They can help tell your story but they are not the important parts.
3. If Plan A is not an option anymore, kick the shit out of plan B.
Again from Sheryl’s message – something very powerful a friend told her in a dark moment stood out to me: “Plan A is not an option anymore. So let’s kick the shit out of plan B”. In the context of her situation, these were unbelievably powerful words…
In the context of my own life, it helps me recognize that it’s okay. The decisions I’ve made have me got me so far, and I am proud of how far I’ve come. Life is going to throw these curveballs all the time. Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, or a pivot in your career path and in who you are. Stay strong and confident. Your path will lay out and come together before you – and you’ll get to where you’re supposed to be. Reading Sheryl’s post, reminded me of how much strength I have inside me to face uncertainty, of how much strength each of us has. Like a well known saying in the Ted Rogers School of Management – just by the elevators.
[blockquote source=”Ted Rogers”]The best is yet to come.[/blockquote]
4. Don’t be afraid.
Easier said than done. But like you’ve probably heard – life starts at the end of your comfort zone. More than that…
…“The problem with fear is that it leads us to cash in our vote…takes us off course… shrinks us down, holds us hostage, blocking our development and contribution… Thank your fear for its concern, move on, do something more productive that uplifts your spirit, calls you back to who you really are.”
So keep trekking forward.
I’m going to miss the people I’ve met here, the community and the opportunities that allowed me to feel part of something amazing. The feeling of being a presenter in Enactus, the feeling of answering questions about the Fashion Zone and sharing a vision, the feeling of seeing a sustainable fashion movement at Ryerson that was once an idea in your own mind, formulate and become real with the help of friends.
But I look forward. With intention and confidence, strength and incredible memories.
So, I’d like to end this post with a heartfelt thank you to everyone at Ryerson who contributed to my experience and a HUGE congratulations to my fellow graduates. While it’s taken me a while to get here, I hope you too move forward confidently, in whichever direction you’ve chosen. I hope you stay resilient, and I hope you remember the incredible strength you have inside of you. Last, I hope you make yourself proud.
So here’s to us, we made it!!