The transition from high school to university can often be traumatic, a leap into the dark for some, like Columbus sailing into the unknown. Many, of course, experience a seamless passage on a known journey which is prepared for well in advance. Some others though have to sail through rough seas trying to reach a safe berth. For them, resources, marks, distance, and programs may all have to be considered as factors to be weighed.
Last year one of our graduating students, Dylan Lamaca, had his heart set on the Rotman Commerce program at the University of Toronto. As that ‘became less of a reality’ he felt discouraged, having invested so much hope in U of T. deflated, he was reluctant to look into other options until Mrs. Williams in our Guidance Department stressed the old adage that an obstacle can be a blessing in disguise, that makes you better and more successful in the long run. And so it came to pass. Taking her advice, not eagerly, he settled on Huron College at Western University which turned out to be a perfect fit and the source of many successes, and one major victory in a hotly contested Entrepreneurship competition. All of this is summarized beautifully for our readers by Dylan himself in a very telling and insightful rendition of a young mind grappling with an uncertain future. It is so effective that every one of our senior students, should, and will, get a picture of the mental and emotional topography we all must experience. It is universal. The destination in this tale, though attained, turns out to be less existential and pertinent than the journey. Readers can easily sense that a business course, or any course, can become a passion if the stars are aligned. We see it here. We must note with satisfaction Dylan’s conviction that Del’s influence in the shaping of his character, deep and permanent had a strong effect on his resilience, drive and stability. For each generation, the good news is that Del is still Del. Nothing has changed. Del is the one constant in an ever-changing world. It is indeed a fixed star.
Now dear reader, enjoy Dylan’s story as told by Dylan.
As my first year at Western comes to an end, I cannot help but feel sentimental. Not only because I successfully completed a big step in my life, but I also thought of the experiences that help lead me here. During my seven long years at Del, every day was a learning experience. I always tell younger students, especially my brother, to never take your time at Del for granted. It can get easy to get caught up in the strict academic regiment, the constant deadlines and the sometimes hectic atmosphere that we are all accustomed to. However, your time at Del truly does prepare you for life at university and beyond. I encourage younger students to make the most of their time at Del.
You never know what you may take away from it, and how you can use it to be successful in other aspects of your life in the future.
Time management and a work ethic are two essential tools that all Del students learn at some point during their tenure at the College. From scrambling to get an assignment done on the way home from a basketball game, to the long nights studying for exams, the work seemingly never stops. There are so many ways that students can get involved, such as being on a sports team or participating in a club, so being able to handle it all leads to success at all levels. Luckily, everyone at Del wants to see you succeed and are willing to help you reach your goals. The faculty, much like the student body, is there for a reason. That constant support system was something I took for granted, but now it is crucial part of my success in university so far.
A great example of this was through my interactions with Mrs. Williams, my guidance councillor during my Grade 12 year. She was instrumental in helping me choose my university, and her guidance during the year is something that I am truly grateful for. I will always remember visiting her office to tell her about my acceptances, and to ask her for advice. My original plan was to go to U of T and their Rotman Commerce program. Unfortunately, when that was becoming less of a reality, I felt discouraged. I felt as if I was unprepared to take on another option because I had invested a lot into UofT. Mrs. Williams saw it differently. She kept driving home the fact that backup plans exist for a reason. Just because you do not get into your “dream” choice does not mean you are a failure. It could turn out to be a blessing in disguise, something that actually makes you better and allows you to be more successful in the long run. After spending a year at Huron at Western, I can definitely say that I have made the perfect choice for me. If it was not for her help, I may not have been as comfortable exploring my options and finding the perfect fit for not just my academic career, but for so many other aspects that I discovered this year.
Speaking of university, my first year at Huron University at Western was nothing short of amazing. After spending seven years at Del, this was the first big change I have had to endure in a long time. It was very daunting, and I was trying to blend my expectations with the reality that university was going to be very different than Del. The beauty about Huron is that its community closely resembles that of the Del community back home. It is an affiliate college, so its numbers are obviously not as large, but that plays to its advantage. One of Del’s biggest strengths is its intimate interrelationship between its faculty, students and the surrounding community. Huron is very much the same, where the faculty and community there acts as a support system offering a wide range of services to help students succeed, no matter what they pursue. The class sizes are smaller than traditional lectures, which for a business student like me, is my ideal environment. It lets me offer my own opinions during class discussions, which leads to more involved debates between students. By getting involved in something as simple as class discussions, I can stand out more, the discussions become more meaningful, and it helps me develop the interpersonal and verbal communication skills necessary to be successful within a business environment. Additionally, many of the professors go out of their way to establish a personal relationship with their students, creating another resource for students to use to help the transition to university go more smoothly. The similarities between the community at Huron and Del is apparent with how connected they are to the community and the close-knit environment that is so well-known. This was evident since the first day, where everyone at Huron, from Residence Dons to the Principal and Vice-Principal helped carry the countless boxes and bags I had up to my room. I did not know that I necessarily wanted to replicate the same atmosphere that I was used to, but it turns out it was exactly what I needed. It helps me grow not only as a person, but as a student knowing I can try new things while also being able to rely on a place that always supports me.
The desire to give back to the community that is established during your time at Del does not exactly leave you when you move on. There is a reason why the school motto is “Enter to Learn, Leave to Serve.” With that in mind, I wanted to make that involvement a part of my university career and give back to the place at which I would spend the next four years. That is when I joined the Huron University Students’ Council. Elected as a First-Year Representative by my peers, I help contribute to real decisions that affect not only Huron students, but also our relationship and interactions with the larger campus at Western. This includes voting on the creation of a new building on campus, to debating various initiatives that will affect students positively. It has given me a greater appreciation for the school and is one big way I can still make a difference for others while also strengthening my ties to the school that I call home.
Being a Huron University student does not limit me from the experiences and services available on Western’s main campus. Whenever you move on to a new environment, you are often eager to try new things and create new memories. When I arrived at Western, I was very excited to step out of my comfort zone, and participate in clubs and initiatives that I did not previously get a chance to do. This led me to the Western Organization of Filipinos, or WOOF for short. It is a student organization that promotes Filipino Culture, both traditional and modern, across various platforms. I joined this year as a First-Year rep, and was responsible for helping plan events such as social events, charity fundraisers and cultural showcases throughout the year. Growing up, I did not have many role models who were Filipino outside of my family. This was hard at times, but it also motivated me. I joined WOOF because I wanted to surround myself with positive influences who were also Filipino, while also helping me grow and become more comfortable with who I am. I am staying with WOOF, as I was elected as the new VP Finance for the next school year. While working so hard to create new relationships and find new role models, I realized something about myself. I can become a positive role model for others in the future through my own actions and character. That is why I want to remain involved in the clubs and initiatives that I am passionate about, so that I can develop a strong relationship with like-minded people and become that role model that others are to me now.
My biggest highlight this year was definitely winning the W5 Ivey Entrepreneurship Case Competition earlier in January. W5 is Western’s Entrepreneurship Club on campus, and this competition is their flagship, and the culmination of Ivey Entrepreneurship Week. My team and I competed against 29 others, many of them consisting of upper-years and current Ivey students. Going into the competition, I did not know what to expect. To be honest, part of me felt unprepared despite the fact I had become familiar with the “case study” method during my lectures. My team and I just went in looking for experience and a chance to apply what we learned in the classroom to the real world. The case was based on creating a profitable business centered around a specific social issue. The choices were mental health, waste management and social inequality. Our business was based on developing a biodegradable cup, called “Bio-Cup” that would be marketed at various events and places such as concerts, coffee shops and bars. We presented in front of our fellow competitors and judges ranging from Ivey students and graduates, other entrepreneurs and representatives from Uber Eats, the main event sponsor. Winning the competition was very exciting, and I definitely learned a lot about myself and my team throughout. My supposed worries about me being unprepared quickly went away when I realized that I was ready all along. I recalled not only the knowledge that I gained in class this year, but also all of the lessons that I have accumulated along the way. My team’s success did not come from a specific formula or equation, but rather something as basic as writing skills and the ability to verbally communicate our plan and have others buy into our ideas. Not only did we have to convince ourselves that we had the best business, but we also had to convince the judges and differentiate our ideas from the other groups who had similar ideas. The whole experience taught me to never abandon the little things that you learn, as they could become the key to your success in the future.
Winning the competition was a very rewarding experience, as many were shocked to find out how confident we were despite our young age. It was also a great glimpse into what is possible for me within the business world. I really hope to continue this in the future, gaining experience and building my own path towards my future career. It would not be possible without the opportunities provided to me at Huron and Western. The supportive faculty and the unique environment allows me to be comfortable and confident pursuing opportunities like the case competition. It further illustrates that choosing your university is so important because it is where you spend some of the most important years of your life. I feel the same now about it as I did on my first day. This is the perfect choice for me.
Through all of the successes, all of it can be attributed to the lessons I learned during my time at Del. At Huron, I continue to use what I have learned while creating new memories and experiences. You never truly stop learning, no matter where you are in life. I am very thankful to have the opportunity to affect my community in a positive way while also keeping the core values that Del taught me close to my heart. Everyday is a learning experience, a statement that I know will stick with me for years to come.
- Alumni Profiles