Days of life with Sarah Rotella

May 13, 2021 |
Contributed by Sarah Rotella, BCom Level IV

Sarah Rotella

Sarah’s Days of Life review of her final year at DeGroote is all about collaboration, making connections, and lifting each other up

Describe acts of generosity you have observed throughout your days of life at DeGroote.

My fourth year of university at the Bachelor of Commerce Program has been far from normal. In these unprecedented times, it has been amazing to see how people have come together, specifically at DeGroote and McMaster. As students, staff, and faculty have adapted to new online environments, DeGroote has maintained a great sense of community. I have witnessed countless acts of generosity over the past year. The little things go a long way. Within the virtual DSB community, I have felt a unique sense of unity and collaboration.

What has specifically stood out to me is the generosity that upper-year students displayed toward both first-year and prospective students. Being a Welcome Week representative and leading the team of DeGroote ambassadors has been inspiring. I have observed fellow students working together, freely dedicating their time, and sharing their experiences to support younger students. I am proud of how these ambassadors pass their knowledge on to help high school students decide to attend DeGroote and first-year students adjust to university life. Upper-year students truly make a difference. Especially for those first-year students who have not had the chance to experience campus the traditional way.

Jen Sincero's quote "This is good, because..."

What does education with purpose mean to you in your days of life?

To me, DeGroote is more than just a school. What I gained from my undergraduate degree extends beyond a business education. As a recent graduate, education with purpose has meant taking what I have learned in the classroom and applying it in a meaningful way to affect change in business, society, and the world. I have the opportunity to use my knowledge learned in real-world situations. It has meant challenging myself through experiential learning and getting involved in activities that have helped prepare me for a career post-graduation.

Cite one thing that’s made you feel rooted in the last few days/months.

What has made me feel rooted in the last few months is the perspective that I have tried to adopt from a book by Jen Sincero. Having a mindset of saying, “This is good, because…” No matter what happens in life, this viewpoint has forced me to view challenges or setbacks as opportunities for growth. Instead of dwelling on the negative, I have focused only on what is in my control. For example, rather than feeling sad to close this chapter at McMaster, I have felt grateful for all of the incredible opportunities I have experienced and am excited about what’s next. This mindset has also allowed me to find the “silver lining” amid the pandemic.

Convocation roll

Tell a story about a time when something was uncertain for you.

I fear the unknown. For instance, in advance of applying for my internship, I attended my first large networking event. I had never had to make an impression on potential future employers, and I was extremely nervous. Getting ready for the event and arriving on my own only amplified my nerves. My unfamiliarity in the new environment nearly made me talk myself out of going. Fortunately, I forced myself to show up because I knew I would regret it if I didn’t. As the event progressed, the conversations got easier once I realized that being my authentic self and showing my genuine interest was not as daunting as it seemed.

To date, this is one of my fondest networking memories as I made some great connections, including some that led to employment opportunities. This story was a lived example of the quote by Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” Once I got over the hurdle of showing up, and I started telling myself that “I can” do it, I started believing it and following it through.

I am remarkable workshop Zoom screen capture

Who has qualities that you aspire to develop in your days of life?

I believe that sports can test someone at their highest highs and lowest lows, fostering various transferable skills and qualities. Thus, throughout my career and life, I look up to several female athletes for inspiration. I recently attended a Google #IamRemarkable workshop which focused on empowering women to celebrate their achievements and highlighting the slogan: “It’s not bragging if it’s based on facts.”

I find this relevant to Serena Williams as an extremely successful athlete and a leader that knows the value she brings and is not afraid to celebrate how remarkable she is. In particular, I view Serena Williams as an icon of strength and work ethic. She possesses the qualities of resilience and assertiveness that I aspire to develop. I am committing to lifting myself and others up throughout my personal and professional life.

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