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Back To School: A Lesson In Diversity

 TORONTO - Successfully navigating in a diverse community and getting the most out of your education to prepare for the world of work should be students' primary goals, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or ability. Here's how students can accomplish this, according to Ryerson University experts.

1. Know yourself - conduct a SWOT analysis- Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats - on yourself. Be honest. What are you good at? What do you need to improve? Leverage your strengths and work on your weaknesses. Grasp opportunities and mitigate threats.

2. Respect other perspectives - it allows for a healthy exchange of ideas - new and better ideas. Celebrate the differences - start by exploring new communities, foods and customs. Walk a mile in the shoes of someone who is different from you.

3. Be inclusive - each of us is different and we contribute differently. By working together we complement each other’s strengths. Include people of different backgrounds in your group.

4. Network, network, network - make friends with many different people in class, in school, and in all your external activities. Extend a helping hand to others and don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it.

5. Display excellence in everything you do - whether it’s course work or volunteering with student associations. Don’t be afraid to display your accomplishments. And give credit where credit is due.

6. Set specific but stretch goals - push yourself to reach higher. Do not let the fear of the unknown hold you back. If you find something new and don’t know much about it, start a discussion. You’ll be amazed at what information you can gather.

7. Get out of your comfort zone - progress, innovation, and creativity happen when you are willing to stretch. Make it work for you. Talk to several people and ask for their opinion. It will help you get an all round perspective.

8. Find a mentor, be a mentor - mentors help us navigate paths and help open doors.

9. Give back when you can - mentor someone. Help others and practice your leadership skills. It’s good to ask what you can do for others and not just what someone could do for you. You will find it very rewarding.

10. Speak up - when someone acts in a disrespectful manner towards you or towards others.



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