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Inspired by our young people

I spent most of this weekend at the Ontario Universities Fair at the Metro Convention Centre in Toronto, representing our new Honours Bachelor of Professional Communication program, of which I am the founding director.

We have launched this new professional program, to meet the needs of the marketplace, and to provide a powerful education for young people so that they can deal with this crazy new world of information and communication technology that envelopes us.

I have to say that I was incredibly impressed by the high school students I met this weekend. They were full of life and dreams and desire. They weren’t jaded. Rather, they were young people who wanted a better life for themselves and for others. There was very little irony in the room. Very little cynicism. I heard many inspiring stories and looked into many pairs of bright eyes, sparking with electric potential and caring intelligence.

The high school students I met at the Toronto Convention Centre were full of hope and anticipation about their futures – they were thinking about university – a leap which for many is the first step into adulthood and independence. It’s scary and a little intimidating, but the students I spoke to this weekend were meeting their future with aplomb.

It is so easy to get so caught up in the day to day that we forget those ideas and people who inspire us. They open a door in our minds and make us dream of many possible futures for ourselves and those around us. These kids were doing that.

They impressed me with their budding maturity, their humour and, above all, with the amount of thought that they had put into their choice of university and program. The young people I spoke to were keenly aware that university was expensive and that their choice of program would have a big impact on their happiness while in university and their future happiness in both career and life as educated citizens. Many spoke to me of their dream of making change in politics, helping heal our broken society or trying their hand at entrepreneurship.

Many people like to criticize the “new generation,” but I think the naysayers are wrong. The young people I met this weekend were pragmatic, kind and hopeful. They made me very confident that Canada’s future is, indeed, sparkling and bright.

Now it is up to us at universities to match their optimism and provide them with an education that helps them turn their dreams into reality.

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