I have to admit I have a very short attention span. I cannot even watch an 18-minute TED Talk anymore unless it is seriously captivating. So when Jian Ghomeshi posted this hour-long interview with Drake online, I surprised myself by sticking around to listen to the entire thing. It was generating a lot of buzz on Twitter and when I saw the quote below (at 42:20 in the video), I knew I had to hear his story:

While Canadians don’t tend to be too outwardly patriotic, I am crazy proud to be from this country. I truly look up to Canadians who have experienced great success in their careers and make a point of giving back to their “home and native land”. The ones who are proud to say where they are from and build their dream here, not chase it south of the border. I have never felt the need to travel or work in countries worldwide like many of my friends have. I know it is probably a good thing to do – appreciate different cultures and learn from new places, but I would rather keep plowing away at my work here. And I hope to inspire other young Canadians someday that they can do it all in this country – they don’t need to look anywhere else.

I hate that Drake had to say the above words, but it’s probably true. I think we often look to our American neighbours to figure out what is cool and trendy. I’m guilty of it, but I wish we did it a little bit less. If we really want to compete – to build business empires and solve world peace and end homelessness – then we need to celebrate our local talents and make them want to stay here. Let’s not wait for others to catch up to all the good things we have going on here. Instead, why don’t we support our musicians and entrepreneurs and athletes and each other and give ourselves a reason to pursue our dreams here in Canada?

 

I would like to think that it didn’t take an entire village to raise me, but it did take four very special people – mentors – to help me along in my time at TRU. They were professors and employers, but mostly people that I am still proud to call my friends. They spent endless hours in their offices with me discussing professional and personal goals. They always had Kleenex on hand for when my problems were overwhelming and they cheered me on as every year I became a little bit closer to reaching my goals.

I think sometimes people feel like in order to really give back, especially perhaps as the alum of a university, you have to wait until you’re old and grey and have a full bank account so you can sign a big cheque and get your name put on a building. And while that sounds awesome, I won’t be there for quite a few years. And since I’m fresh out of school, my experience is relevant now.

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So this summer I registered for the TRU mentorship program and hoped they might find a spot for me. I was lucky enough to be one of the “industry professionals” skyping in to speak with students in a sort of speed-dating format last Monday night at their Networking 411 – Tourism event. I was impressed that most of them were first-year students and while many were unsure of what to ask, they all knew it was important to be there. I spoke with seven different students – most of them event planning or general Arts.

The best part was that I logged off of Skype feeling like I was back a part of the TRU community again. I don’t miss school at all, but I do miss wandering around the TRU campus and chatting with all my favourite staff and faculty. So when several of them jumped in front of the laptop to ask me how Winnipeg is, I felt like I was “home”. I’m hoping this was just the very small start to a long career of helping some students make the transition from the classroom to workplace or even just become more comfortable on campus. And this is also my sneaky way of making sure I never really leave TRU.

I encourage you to check out the TRU Mentorship program and sign up for a one-time networking event or a semester-long pairing with a student.