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My First Steps Towards Lifelong Learning

Hello fellow learners! My name is Amanda and I am an eleventh grade student at St. Robert CHS. This weekend, I was lucky enough to attend the Illuminate x North York Regional Conference. My blog strives to highlight what I learned about what it means to be a lifelong learners and ways to approach the career I desire.


"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson


Keynote from Dan Kiernan

Dan was a very inspirational speaker and I was very happy to listen to his presentation. My key takeaways from this opening keynote was that it is alright to change careers and it isn't always necessary to follow your passions. It is importance to separate your work life and social life and ensure that you don't take work too seriously. I learnt that Dan is a Careers Coach who is very passionate about his job. He seemed like a very friendly, encouraging person. I love how he is able to help others find their path in life because that is a very important job; especially in this day and age where it is difficult to find careers that we are interested in.


Workshop #1: Personal Development and Career Development/Elevator Pitch

The first workshop with Dan was very engaging and informative. My key takeaways were to talk to people in the careers I am interested in so that I can prepared for the career. In addition, it is important to have the initiative to reach out to others and try new things to gain experience. Attending the conference is being proactive in itself. In addition, I thoroughly enjoyed learning how to present myself to future employers.


Workshop #2: Working on the Lifelong Learning Case Study

The second workshop that I participated in was the Lifelong Learning Case Challenge. I worked with a talented, enthusiastic team of friends and I (surprisingly) had a decent time. I won't lie, it was definitely very confusing and stressful but at the end, it felt nice to finish the presentation. I learnt that it is very important to work together and distribute work properly to achieve a goal. In addition, I learnt more about the issues in our education system through the variety of graphs that were presented to use. Many of these graphs and articles illustrated how modern education systems are mainly focused on marks rather than learnings; which is a large issue in our society. It was interesting to try to think of solutions to solve this problem. The solution that my group came up with was to implement a mandatory CO-OP program which allows students the gain additional knowledge and experience regarding the fields that students are interested in early on to allow for more flexibility and adaptability.


Here's my team!

Top Row (left to right): Me (Amanda), Yolanda, Leyla

Bottom Row (left to right): Angela, Nicholas


Keynote from Swish Goswami

Swish was very insightful. I learned that I should try to talk to people who have done it; gain insight from those with experience. Find a realistic perspective of the careers you are interested in so that you are prepared for what you need to do. Networking and connections is very important for success. Interview others about their interests and their careers because people love to talk about themselves.


I consider myself an entrepreneur in the sense that I am striving to offer my unique ideas to the world and potential build a future based on this. For example, I have taken an interest in art so I have been creating art online and posting it to the public on social media. In addition, I wish to hopefully be valuable in my future careers by implementing new, unique ideas that I have created to help the world. If I were to create a business, I would create a platform where people can share their art. I was hoping to advertise any up-and-coming artists to grow while helping others grow.


After attending Illuminate x North York, I am very passionate about learning to present myself better and become more confident. I am looking forward to hopefully being able to practice my social skills once the pandemic is over.


One piece of advice that I would like to share to you is that leadership is not just about giving directions and insight but also about receiving insight and continuously learning from others.


I hope you all enjoyed reading my blog, I would definitely recommend attending Illuminate's conferences because I have learnt a lot of useful information about leadership and approaching my future careers from this experience.