The Three Best Conversations I Had This Term — #HowToChangeTheWorld

If I ever become successful to the degree that I want, I hope to have the opportunity to get up on a world stage and speak to millions of people about the factors of success and why people can’t take all the credit. I’ll never be able to take all the credit because I’m keenly aware of the factors that go into success that we often don’t think about. People can fend for themselves to incredible degrees and call themselves ‘self made’, but there is always more to the story. People, places, and things that are a part of our lives from from the day we’re born profoundly impact us, our direction, and the life that we will ultimately live. I always want to pay tribute to the people in my life who have taken bets on me, invested in me, and have given me the platform to slowly become who I want to be. This post is a tribute to these people and an attempt to share some of their knowledge, rather then mine.

The first of these conversations was with a fellow Don, let’s call her Ashley. Ashley is a shrewdly intelligent, comedic individual who is not afraid to speak her mind and call people out on their crap. I only started to become friends with Ashley towards the end of our first term Don’ing and we bonded this past term over a mutual love of of cheap wine. I invited Ashley over one night, when I think I really just needed to vent, and even though she’s a busy person she still made time for me. After a glass or two of wine, we just started talking about what we admire about each other and what we wish for other person moving forward. Her words to me about happiness and success is widely applicable to fellow millennials:

“It’s okay that you’re super ambitious, but I don’t want you to stop enjoying who you are right now. Remember that, even if you’re not on the cover of a magazine one day, you are successful. You have already achieved your goal of making lives better now and don’t you dare wait until you’re 40 and a billionaire to be happy with yourself”

Without realizing it, Ashley had touched upon the important of mindfulness. In a world where we are always working towards our next degree, job, or partner, it’s important to remember that the journey is more important then the destination. The destination won’t mean much if you didn’t enjoy the journey.

A few weeks later, I was calling myself a cab and asking it to take me to Abe Erb. Not long after, my friends Mike and Chris showed up to join me for a drink. The two friends, a few years older then me, asked me about my term and what I was experiencing. I asked my friends about dating and relationships during their time in University and they confirmed my theory that dating is very different after school then while you’re in it. The two you gentlemen could tell I was a little stressed about the concept, and skilfully put me at ease.

“Even if it doesn’t feel like it, remember you’re young. Don’t be afraid to have some fun with dating and do the fun, casual thing. And if the person is right for you, the fun thing will become the real thing on its own”

Holy shit. Was it actually possible that, if one puts in genuine effort into meeting and spending time with people, that the right person would just stick? It was comforting to know that real life happens on its own and our interactions with the gender(s) we’re interested in should require effort and courage, but not be forced. Real life factors beyond our control will help us decide who is right for us and who isn’t.

I can’t say this is the best conversation I had this term, but I think it’s the most applicable to you as a reader. One of fellow ENBUS 102 TA’s, let call her Danielle, asked if I wanted to have lunch before the end of the term. On a brisk Fall day in October we sat outside, eating sandwiches, the University of Waterloo’s EV1 building on a bench. Covering topics such as modern romance, education, and Canadian geography, Danielle too could sense what I was stressed about. I expressed my concerns about my degree perhaps not being the right fit for what I want to pursue further and feeling insecure about my undergraduate program. Danielle, a young professional with much more life experience then me, calmly replied:

“Don’t worry too much about school. University happens at a weird time in a young person’s life (when you essentially have little to no life experience) and you have no context to what you’re learning. You’re told this information, but have no idea how or when you’re going to apply the knowledge in practice. Take comfort in that you might be 30 or 40 one day and realize that you’re actually using what you learned in school”.

All of these conversations were amazing. These people and their words had single handedly diffused years of worrying of what I thought were imminent problems. I hope you continue to have more then enough coffee chats, listen intently, and remember that everyone has something to bring the table. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

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