- Abby Litchfield
- Mar 26, 2021
Abby Litchfield is an HBA '21 Candidate and member of the HBA Sustainability Certificate.
This article was originally posted on Medium.com.
I’ll never forget the first time I stepped into the Ivey Building.
It was March of 2017 — Grade 12 open house. I walked in there with big dreams (and the blissful ignorance that in two months, they’d be temporarily shattered by an “Advanced Entry Opportunity” rejection), enthralled by the building’s intimidating glory.
As I walked with my parents into BMO auditorium for the information session, to hear impressive statistics and shining reviews about the program, I promptly fell down the stairs.
And I don’t just mean a quick “twist the ankle, stagger, and move on” kind of fall. No, I mean a “multiple stairs, people in the aisles gasping and reaching out to stop you” kind of fall. The real deal.
After that impressive start, I didn’t quite have the courage to put my hand up and ask the one burning question I had about the program: “What’s the deal with this Sustainability Certificate?”
So instead, I held back until the mingling session in the Great Hall to ask around. Unfortunately, no one there could tell me a thing about it.
So to recap — I had shown up, fallen down the stairs, and gotten no further information about the part of the program that excited me the most. And yet, I was not discouraged.
Fast forward four years, and it’s now March of 2021— I’m one month away from graduating from Ivey with a Certificate in Sustainability.
The no-AEO setback is behind me, I haven’t fallen down the (Ivey) stairs even once, and I’m now a Teaching Assistant for the Professor who started the Sustainability Certificate Program. I think it’s safe to say I’ve come a long way.
But I wanted to write this piece for the future-me’s out there. The ones who think “would Ivey really be for me?”, “do I really care about the right things, the things everyone else there will?”, “am I good enough?”, or “am I going to fall flat on my face the moment I walk into that place?”.
I want to tell you that yes, this place can be for you. You don’t have to be driven by money, or the desire to be better than everyone in order to fit in here. In fact, when I showed up, my mind was blown by how many other students didn’t fit “the stereotype”.
I’ve met some of the most passionate, interesting, and supportive people I know at Ivey, and within the Sustainability Certificate. Those people could be you.
Beyond that, this place needs you. Like it or not, many of tomorrow’s influential leaders are going to be pumping through these doors, and we need people like you to challenge their ideas, expand their perspectives, and work with them while they’re here.
Now, don’t get me wrong, this program will challenge you, too. There will be times when you question your priorities, compare yourself to others, and feel like you’re in over your head. But despite all that, there hasn’t been a single time I’ve regretted working my butt off to get here.
I’ve learned more about myself in the last two years than I could have ever imagined; staying true to my values throughout it all has only made them stronger.
So please, sustainability hopefuls: (geography students, MIT students, enviro sci students, music students, wherever you’re coming from) if you feel like you have something different to bring to this table, but worry you might not belong, do your best to show up.
This school needs you, this business world of tomorrow needs you, and I think you’ll find that coming here just might be exactly what you need, too.