IGNITE held its first Real Talks event of the year on Wednesday, which brought to Humber two individuals who shared their remarkable stories in hopes to inspire students who attended.
Complimentary coffee, tea and cookies were offered to students as they filled the chairs set up in the Student Centre.
IGNITE’s vice president, Ammar Abdul-Raheem welcomed to the stage the first guest, Drex Jancar. He was joined by former MuchMusic VJ Sarah May Taylor, who led the conversation, asking Jancar questions on his success.
A former student of Humber’s business program, Jancar dropped out in 2001 to start his own business.
“I had an opportunity to start a business and I felt that it was a better opportunity to learn about business by running a business than studying it,” he said.
Today, Jancar has many titles under his belt. He is the manager of OVO Clothing, OVO Fest and Canadian R&B duo Majid Jordan. He is also the co-founder of “The Remix Project”, a program that offers a creative outlet to the youth of Toronto.
Tattooed right into his skin, “Get Money Make Change” has been the mantra that leads Jancar to strive for success. He believes in the importance of making money in order to create change.
Jancar says he wishes he’d listened to his instincts more closely because, ultimately, your gut is always right and to trust that you are doing the right thing.
“You need to listen to yourself and I think that’s the most important,” said Jancar.
Jancar definitely inspired some of the students that attended to own who they are and who they want to become.
“I liked how when I asked him the question he told me to say ‘I am an interior designer’ because I thought I’d made a mistake by calling myself an interior designer rather than a design student. But that was really motivating,” said Simran Lauchenpold, a first year design foundation student.
The second speaker had a story that could have been pulled straight from an episode of Criminal Minds.
When he was only 11 months old, Brryan Jackson’s father, a blood technician, injected him with HIV infused blood he’d stolen from his workplace. Jackson was given five months to live.
Jackson says his father never really accepted the fact that he was his son and, to avoid paying child support for 18 years, contaminated him with the deadly disease, in hopes that the boy would not live very long.
Fortunately, Jackson’s father was imprisoned and is serving a life sentence and the disease has been sustained with almost no chance of dying from it.
The charismatic 25-year-old from a small town in Missouri, USA is now a public speaker and mental health activist. He travels, telling his story, hoping to inspire young people. Despite the awful things he went through, Jackson never lost hope.
“Hope doesn’t mean everything’s going to be great, it means that everything is going to be alright,” said Jackson.
Even though what Jackson went through was extremely difficult, his positivity is intended to make his speech uplifting, inspiring and also do so by inserting humour throughout.
Jackson was left with a speech impediment from the strong medication he took as a child that caused him to lose his hearing just as he was beginning to learn how to speak. In school he was bullied for his disease and at times even contemplated suicide.
The most important point Jackson seeks to make is that your past does not define you and your present and future. Quoting Disney’s Frozen, the young speaker reminds us how important it is to “let it go, let it go.” Jackson was tired of being his own father’s victim and it having control over him. He was eventually able to forgive his father in order to move on with his life.
“Does it ever feel like you’re stuck in a traffic jam? Sometimes the reason we can’t move forward is because we have too much junk in the trunk,” said Jackson.
Students leaving the Student Centre said they felt motivated and inspired after listening to what advice both guest speakers had to offer.
“I have a tendency to hold onto grudges and now I can see how forgiving and not necessarily forgetting can be really beneficial in moving on with your life,” said first year design foundation student Margaret Boehmer.