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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

Learn more about Indigenous Education and Cultural Services

It takes a village

March 12, 2020

When many individuals tell their story today, they often describe themselves as being “self-made”. Built themselves from the ground up, overcame obstacles and defied the odds all on their own. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Yet, it doesn’t sit right with me. I don’t believe there is any individual who has attained success without the help of another. Whether it be a smile, a word of encouragement, a coffee, a toonie on a day you were down to your last cent, one can never ignore the God-sent people in our lives who make our lives just a bit better by being in it.

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And so I embarked on a celebration project for my course, Nonviolent Communication, with Dr. Sharon Lauricella. For our final assignment, we were tasked with engaging in a creative, personal assignment related to promoting peace and non-violence. I thought long and hard before choosing this project as I wanted to engage in something meaningful, positive and something that would make a difference not just in my life but in the lives of the people around me. After deliberating, I decided to celebrate the individuals who have impacted my life during my university career. 

I think it is safe to say that a lot of things have contributed to the woman I am today. Sad experiences, obstacles, criticism, losses. The list is practically endless. However, the negatives form but a tiny piece of the whole. The woman I am today, the woman I am becoming, though mainly self-made, would not exist had it not been for the people in my life. There is an old adage which states “It takes a village to raise a child”. At age 22, it is hard to call myself a child however, I still maintain a child-like attitude. 

“In what way?”, you may ask. 

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Well, I am like a child in that I am a sponge. I challenge myself to absorb lessons from every individual I come in contact with on a daily basis. Like a child, I humbly rely on the experiences of those who have already manoeuvred the challenges of adulthood to steer me in the right direction. Everyone is my teacher. I have never had a role model however, the people I have met have taught me of the qualities I wish to possess and the qualities I detest. 

Reminiscing on these four years, I can proudly say I am not the same timid individual I was entering the doors of the 61 Charles Street Building in 2016. I am stronger, so much wiser and I must give credit to the people that have contributed to this growth. 

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These people have helped me grow professionally and personally. On the days when I didn’t believe in myself or worried about my future, they were there to comfort me. The lessons I have learnt and the values they have inculcated within me are things I will treasure for life. 

It’s not every day someone takes an interest in investing their time and other resources in improving the life of someone else and so I am forever grateful and appreciative of the contributions these individuals have made in my life. And these are just a few. If I actually tried to make a list of the individuals who have positively impacted my life, I would take an entire day or week perhaps! 

Had it not been for the help of these people and others, I would never have made it thus far. Here's my public thank you notes to my village:

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I met Megan in August of 2017 in an interview for my first on-campus job @ontariotechu as a Social Media Assistant. She was poised, smart and I just knew from the moment I met her that we'd be great friends. A lot of what I now know about branding (Megan is big on brand standards 😆), social media, content creation and management I learnt from Megan. We have worked together on countless projects and initiatives but we've also worked on growing as women with purpose. Life advice, academic advice, jokes and rants - I'm happy to have shared them with and received them all from Megan. Fast forward to 2020, Megan's my boss and also doubles as my big sister-friend! I admire Megan because she's one of the strongest people I know. I've seen her stand firm and brave in circumstances that would break anyone. There are some times she doubts her abilities and impact but I know there's a lot of great things she has and will accomplish. So thank you @meganweales ! You made a difference just by being you. #ittakesavillage

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"Bennnnn, are you busy?" I say way too many times a month as I approach Ben, who sits by his table, working away. "No, what's up?", he responds, while spinning around in his chair, smiling. Ben has never hesitated to help me. He's been that way since we met almost 3 years ago. Since 2017, Ben has been one of my key mentors. As a keen listener, he always gives meaningful advice to aid in navigating the world of work and life on a whole. I've learnt many valuable lessons from Ben but most of all, I appreciate his charge to never miss out on great opportunities because I don't feel that I tick off all the boxes of skills etc. that are asked for. I'm sometimes doubtful and question my future but then there's Ben saying "There, there, you're gonna be fine. You've done lots of stuff. You have good experience. You're a hustler 😂. There's nothing to worry about". It's not every day you meet leaders/supervisors who foster your growth and professional development. So I'm truly grateful for the help I've received from Ben over the years. Thank you @benbiel1 for your kindness and support! I really appreciate it! #ttakesavillage

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When I think Kelly, I think BADASS! Kelly has been one of my biggest cheerleaders since the day we met. So witty and remarkably knowledgeable on so many things, Kelly has been my guiding light. Sometimes I think she has too much faith in me with all the good things she speaks over my life 😆 but that's just Kelly! Kind and empowering. From teaching me how to navigate the working world as a woman to just general life advice, I learn something new from her every day. Of all the lessons she has inculcated in me, I'll never forget our conversation one day where she charged me not to be afraid to try new things and fail. I've been venturing out since. Thank you @kelg123 for lessons that will last a lifetime! You make such a difference in my world! 🤗 #ittakesavillage

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Celebrate the people who make a difference in your world. Maybe you don’t shout them out on your Instagram like I did, but leave them a handwritten note, get them a card or just simply say “Thank you”. Life’s short. Let the people you appreciate know that before you lose that chance. The value of the community can never be overstated. The support, the help, the amazing friendship - that’s something to treasure.

Who are the people who make a difference in your life? Who’s in your village?

Next time you see them, you should let them know.

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