In June 2020, I had been asked to address Graduands of the University of Toronto St Michael’s College. I had been given the honor of addressing students last year as part of the 2019 Graduating Class of UofT students. However this year, in light of COVID-19, was different. We were asked to share a short clip which would then be shared with students since they aren’t able to attend graduation in person.
With everything that’s currently happening in 2020, especially the impact of COVID-19 to all our lives, it’s terrifying to enter the job market right now. Instead of making false promises to students, I focused my address on how Graduands have the skills they need to grab onto the opportunities that are popping up instead.
I hope you all take the day to celebrate your years of hard work with your families and loved ones.
A year ago I had the pleasure of addressing students in person, and focused my address on passion. I talked about how my four main passions, tech, philanthropy, travel and photography, drove my decisions and brought me to where I am today. I ended by encouraging those graduands to let their passions drive them wherever into their future.
A lot has happened in the last year. Some of it has been really good, starting with the Raptors who won the NBA last year to the historic moment a few days ago where spaceX launched a rocket to space
There has also been a lot of bad things. 2020 started off with the Australian bush fires. We’re all adapting to this new world because of COVID19, and most recently we’re watching the transformational black lives matter movement unfold in the US and around the world.
One thing we must celebrate is that you, the graduands watching this video, overcame all these hurdles and are graduating today.
The world is different today, the future is unknown. The future of work is unclear. This is one of the hardest and most difficult times we’ve seen for many generations.
The easy thing to do is to tell you not to worry and that everything will be ok. But I don’t know that, so I won’t tell you that.
Instead I want you to focus on opportunity. This is your opportunity to take what you’ve learnt for years, and apply it. The future is uncertain, but one thing is clear - you have the ability to create your own path and make the world a better place. The University of Toronto has provided you with an incredible education. It’s also given you the skills you need to research and create the things you’re passionate for. Some of the best inventions were created during moments of difficulty.
Educate yourselves, follow your passions and make sure you take every opportunity to build a better tomorrow.
Graduands, this is the start of the next chapter in your lives. Congratulations!