Unlock the Possibilities
posted by Muhammad Yalakidis
Welcome Class of 2021! I am honored to witness the beginning of your journey at LIM College, and I humbly welcome you to the city of dreams!
I remember being just like you, sitting in the audience, looking around at the hundreds of other students who had made the same choice as I did; to take a leap of faith into the concrete jungle and take hold of my destiny with my own two hands. I sat at the edge of my seat while I anxiously listened to students speak proudly of their experience as members of the LIM College community. And instantly, I too had dreams of being able to earn the opportunity to do the same.
Now, here I am, dreams do come true (I promise). However, being able to fulfil a dream of speaking to incoming students at convocation is only one of many goals that I’ve managed to achieve during my time here, and you too will eventually be able to say with confidence that you’ve accomplished your intended goals as well.
I want to commend you all for the immense bravery that you have shown by accepting the challenge of attending LIM College, in the heart of the city that never sleeps. New York City is truly a magical place, because it serves as a direct portal to the world at large. Unlike any other place in the world, here you will have access to more opportunity than you can experience in a lifetime, however it will certainly test your drive, ambition, grit, and willingness to learn. You will quickly discover the context behind the cliché phrase “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere” as you make strides toward becoming future fashion leaders.
I remember coming to LIM with very vague and aspirational goals of being a buyer without even being sure of what that meant. All I knew was that I wanted to be involved in the business of fashion. I knew that fashion was an innate interest of mine, in fact, getting dressed in the morning had been my favorite part of the day. I knew that if I had the ability to wake up and do something I love everyday then I would be satisfied, and if fashion was for sure what I wanted to do, then this was the place to do it.
I barely had any work experience coming into LIM as a freshman, outside of a summer job in Newark, NJ before I fled for college, handing out flyers for a medical training program. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to compete with the other students who sat beside me, and I wasn’t sure how I would leverage my experience to get my foot in the door, but I knew that it had to happen, and I was going to do whatever was necessary to fulfil that.
So, I attended all of the college’s seminars, workshops, career fairs, and used orientation as an opportunity to get insight from fellow peers, student leaders, and faculty. I recognized that all of my necessary resources were right in front of me, it was only a matter of me utilizing them, and so I did.
An interaction with a gentleman at LIM College’s Career Fair led to me receiving an email shortly after offering me the opportunity to interview with a luxury menswear company, Thomas Pink, which is a subsidiary of the LVMH corp. I was overwhelmed, and didn’t quite understand why I was given this opportunity, but I didn’t question it, I just went for it. I showed up for the interview, not having been to a formal job interview in the past, and thus not knowing what to expect. I sat in front of the store manager attempting to disguise my nervousness, and to my surprise the first thing she said to me was “So, you go to LIM College?” Before I knew it, I had my first job in fashion at a high-end retailer selling button-down shirts and ties that I couldn’t remotely afford, but I was in, my foot was in the door.
This moment for me was yet another affirmation of my decision to attend LIM College. Here I was a first-year student with minimal work experience, and part of what put me ahead of the competition was the reputation of this institution. However, mentioning your affiliation with LIM College will not be able to stand alone, you will have to exhibit a sense of confidence and fearlessness in the pursuit of your dream. My art teacher in high school used to always instill in us that the most successful person isn’t the most talented, he/she is the most ambitious. With that being said, you must embody a relentless ambition towards achieving those goals that are currently brewing in those heads of yours. While in the process of becoming a relentless force in the industry, you must also learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable, as my dad would say. This means that sometimes, things will be new and unfamiliar, but you will have to grow accustomed to placing yourself in unfamiliar situations, and be confident that you will excel.
LIM College will provide you with the necessary skills and resources to be your best self, and help open the doors for you to be successful. As you will hear from some of our students on the panel about their experiences in the industry, just remember that none of these opportunities were handed to them. They were ambitious, they were confident, they were fearless, and they were comfortable with being uncomfortable.
As I close out, I want to you to understand that you are not alone. As you go into orientation week and you embark upon your journey, understand that faculty, staff, student leaders, and those sitting beside you will be with you every step of the way. I can assure you that you have come to the right place, and your wildest fantasies can very well come to fruition if you first wholeheartedly believe in yourself, and secondly, have a willingness to relentlessly pursue your dreams. Khalil Gibran said “No one can teach you what lies half asleep in the dawning of your own knowledge. The teacher…If he is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of his wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind.”
In other words, you all are self-sufficient and self-empowered beings with the capacity to access your own highest potential of knowledge and self-awareness, and hopefully this college can serve as the catalyst in activating that thought process. We will give you the keys, but it is up to you to unlock the possibilities.