As the University of Toronto’s virtual convocation ceremony approaches, Sepi Mortavezi wants fellow members of the Class of 2021 to take a moment to appreciate what they’ve accomplished.
“I want you to know that, no matter what you’re doing next, even if you haven’t decided, you deserve some time to congratulate yourself,” says Mortavezi, a member of Victoria College in the Faculty of Arts & Science.
It’s a sentiment shared by Francisca Wiafe-Amoako of Innis College in the Faculty of Arts & Science.
“These past few years, though challenging and full of unexpected events – like this pandemic – have shown that you are capable of adapting and coming out victorious despite the obstacles thrown your way,” Amoako says.
Mortavezi and Amoake are among the graduating students congratulating the Class of 2021 in a new video – and sharing their reflections on what they learned during their time at U of T.
“The most important thing I learned at U of T is that students have power to make changes – and if we reach out and speak out and have our voices heard we can make lasting changes,” says Nalian Youmer of the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work.
For U of T Scarborough’s Obianuju Nwadike, it was realizing “that it’s really good to challenge myself to try new things and do things that are out of my comfort zone.”
For the Faculty of Music’s Stephane Martin Demers, it was a passion for leadership and social justice, as well as the discovery that “I do not do all-nighters.”
And for Woodsworth College's Andrea Johns, it was “that I belong in academia and so do other Indigenous Peoples.”
Regardless of what discipline the Class of 2021 studied, Kerry-Ann James says it’s important to recognize how much they accomplished.
“No matter how long it took you to complete your degree, you got here,” says James, of University College in the Faculty of Arts & Science. “Through all those sleepless nights and stress-filled deadlines, you persevered – and that is no small achievement! So be proud of all you did to get to this very moment.
“I’m proud of you.”