It is undeniable that friends play an integral part in shaping our lives. Without the slightest of hesitation, I attest to the fact that the person I am today is because of the friendships I currently have or have had in the past. But before I carry on, let me make one thing very clear. This blog post is not going to flirt on the topic of “how amazing friends are.” Although I do agree that friends are pretty amazing, I want to be as real and truthful as possible. Each of us has lost good friends either by choice or by force and there is a story to be learned from every friendship won or lost. I want to share with you the three lessons I have learned from my friends thus far and how it has impacted me both at the highest and lowest points of my life.
For those of you that know me and have met me in person, it comes to no surprise that I have a minor case of vitiligo. In case you do not know what vitiligo is, it is a skin condition in which pigmentation is lost in certain areas of your body. Does it hurt? No. But to me, it hurts when people feel sorry for me because that is the last thing I feel for myself. Is there a definite cure? No. But similar to most other problems one faces in life, the cure to this rare skin condition does not lie in any medication, but rather in myself and my mind. It is amazing how underrated one’s power of thought is. They say a pen is mightier than a sword. I say the human mind is more powerful than both combined.
All it takes is one second, one wrong turn, one blink of an eye for us to lose it all. Malaysian Airlines flight 370 is a prime example. Young children, newly wed couples, grandparents and grandchildren, mothers and daughters... literally vanished, nowhere to be found as of yet. I have been addicted to this story for many reasons, whether it be because of my sheer passion and interest in aviation or the unfathomable thought that such a disaster can occur in the high-tech era which we live in today. However, the one thing that I have come to realize is that to most individuals not directly affected by catastrophic events, this is merely another news story addiction that can be easily set aside once a news article is read or an interview is watched online. But to those unfortunate individuals, similar to myself, who feel the pain of losing loved ones due to tragic accidents, it is a cruel reminder of how vulnerable we really are in this world.
Days have gone by since you had your interview at your dream organization. No reply from them. Weeks have gone by since you have last heard from your friends. No reply from them. Months have gone by since you applied to post-graduate school. No reply from them. Years have gone by in university and you are still unsure as to what you want to be in the future. What is going on? You feel like you are tumbling in a downward spiral and there is no safety net to fall on. Well let me tell you something: you are amongst 99.99% of the population who has felt the feeling of being defeated. Why did things not go according to plan? Others have worked less hard than you, yet you are still jobless. Others are less smarter than you, yet you are still struggling in school. Why? Because life happens. And let me tell you one more thing: when it is your time to shine and transform your dreams into reality, don't let that opportunity go because trust me, your time will come. It comes for each and every one of us. It is not a question of "when" but rather "how."
Positivity is contagious. I have been through some challenging times in my life but the one thing that has always pulled me through is remaining positive. Whether it is at work or with friends, what I began to notice is that a positive mindset will more often than not lead to positive results and a true passion for whatever it is I have set myself to accomplish. How can this so called “positive energy” serve as an asset whilst seeking a job? How can a positive mindset propel you up the corporate ladder at your workplace? How can a positive attitude help you stand out from the crowd? I am glad you asked.
As I relive the memories of my time at McMaster University, which unequivocally were the four best years of my life, there were many lessons learned. These lessons helped shape me to be the individual and professional I am today. As I fulfill my role as a Senior Associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and as the President of the Canada Pakistan Professional Association (CPPA), I am filled with endless gratitude for those who continue to support me each step of my career. Although I am firm believer in fate, to get to the position I am blessed to be in today, I have worked tirelessly over the past several years; most importantly, during the four years I spent at McMaster University. Let me share with you the five key lessons that I learned during my undergraduate years which set me up for “success” soon after I graduated. As a student, if you align yourself with the five lessons learned below, I am hopeful that you too can fulfill your dreams and desires post-graduation.
Ramadan has unfortunately come to an end. What an amazing month it has been. It is the one month (and perhaps the only month) in the year that I look forward to the most. As I look back at the last 30 days, aside from not being able to drink coffee every morning, afternoon and evening, I have come to realize that Ramadan has taught me a lot about myself. Hopefully, as you read this blog post, some of my personal “Ramadan take-aways” may hit home with you. If you have more to add to the list below, do leave a comment and share what you have learnt over the past month!