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Dear class of 2020

President Lachemi and alumni offer words of encouragement and advice to new graduates
By: Antoinette Mercurio
June 29, 2020
A graduate wearing a cap and gown with their back to the camera, looks out into the distance

New grads have a world of opportunities ahead of them. Photo by Andre Hunter, external link on Unsplash.

Though this year has unfolded differently, today graduates and Ryerson community members are logging on wherever they are to virtually celebrate our spring 2020 graduates. 

A full day of online events have been planned and while the virtual celebration doesn’t replace convocation, there’s value in gathering with family and friends and finding new ways to celebrate graduates on their accomplishments

As graduates venture out into the workforce or embark on another academic journey in graduate studies, President Mohamed Lachemi and alumni offer words of encouragement and advice to grads as they discover ways to make their mark on the world. Check out what they have to say:

“Be positive, and remain optimistic. While we are in a strange and challenging time right now, don’t forget to keep looking for opportunities - challenges often force us to think in new and creative ways,” said President Lachemi. “As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many individuals, companies and institutions have had to change the way they did things, to continue to be successful in this new world. You, as new graduates, can participate in re-defining many things - the way we work, the way we communicate with one another, how we interact with and move through the world around us. You are in a unique position to help shape the future.”

Hanan Harb

Hanan Harb, Immigration and Settlement Studies (MA) '08

"If I had to choose one piece of advice to give graduates, it would be to not compare yourself to others. While some might find a job immediately after graduating, others may not. Some might walk straight into their dream job while others may have several jobs before they find theirs. You don’t need to have all the answers right now, you just need to keep moving forward. Find yourself a supportive group of friends that will act as your cheerleaders when things get tough. Make good use of your time by volunteering and continuing to learn, being open to trying new things, and never giving up. Everyone’s journey is going to be different, but life’s setbacks have a strange way of leading you to exactly where you need to be. Trust in the journey and good luck!"

Cyesha Forde

Cyesha Forde, Ted Rogers School of Management '09

"It has been over a decade since I graduated from Ryerson and the biggest lesson I have learned is that my instincts are always right. Think for a moment, what life decision are you contemplating right now? What just popped into your mind? Listen for the answer that you hear deep within. It may be a whisper, it may be a scream, but your instincts are telling you what to do. Trust that voice.

On this journey called life you will change course countless times. There will be those who think you’re taking too many risks, and those who think you are playing it too safe. Be open to advice, take counsel from those you trust, but never give that advice more weight than your instincts. You are your own best counsel and at the end of the day the path you take will be the right one...because you chose it!"

Zohair Khan

Zohair Khan, Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science '09

“To the graduating class of 2020, I have one main thing to say: this too shall pass! I graduated in 2009 and, like today, those were extremely uncertain times due to the economic crisis at that time. Ryerson engineering has given you the education, tools and support network you need to overcome any obstacles that come your way. Ryerson will forever be your home and do not be shy to continue to utilize every resource it has to offer you. The best career advice I ever got was extremely simple and it came from former Ryerson President Sheldon Levy: ‘Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.’ I am confident that every one of you will succeed, thrive, and make your mark in the years to come. Congratulations!”

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