The Importance of Confidence, or The Barriers Without It

I always thought the process of getting a job was simple and straightforward: you go to school, you learn a bunch of things you need to know, and you’ll be ready to be thrown into the workforce (or at least ready enough).

These past few months have been sobering for me in realizing that this belief is very far from the actual truth. In reality, no amount of education can completely and entirely prepare you for the real world.


Don’t get me wrong: school does teach you what you need to know (usually) and prepares you as best it can in a very comforting environment. As a language teacher, my job is to help students use English in the outside world. As a teacher, my job is to teach speaking, writing, reading and listening skills, as well as strengthen them and tailor them for the modern Torontonian society (whose language is CONSTANTLY changing. Seriously. What is ‘the 6’?)

But I’ve come to this realization that I can only prepare my students, just like school can only prepare me. Everything else comes down to how confident I am in my skills, and same goes with using a language.

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The Most Important Difference Between (Private) Colleges and Universities

I haven’t ever done a post like this, where I talk about and critique the education system in some way. Well I’m doing that now.

And just on a side note, I think it’s important to discuss and comment on the education system. Not only is it a fundamental system, but it is possibly the most important part of a person’s development.

Recently I have been studying for my TESL Ontario certification (for those of you who don’t know what the TESL is, it is a certification to be able to teach English as a second language). In the second semester of my course, we’ve focused on many different aspects of teaching.

One of these aspects is linguistics.

This was interesting for me especially since I’ve studied linguistics before in my university career. A lot of the information we touched upon was information I had previously studied, so this was kind of a review for me.

Or so I thought.

I think what I learned from studying linguistics was the important difference in learning when it comes to a smaller and more tactile setting, like the one we see in private and public colleges, compared to learning in a bigger setting with a more theoretical and less practical approach, like the one you’d see in university.

So how does that affect what you’re learning?

University puts a focus on theory, teaching you mostly everything there is to know on a certain topic. A lot of this is to present ideas to students for them to critically challenge them. This is one of the great things about many programs at universities: students are given theories and are allowed to disagree with them, provided they are able to balance it with fact. It is a great skill to have.

But that’s also where the problem lies.

Looking back at my notes for my university linguistics class, a lot of the information given was not entirely needed and actually made the material a lot more confusing. That is essentially the thing with university education: the material you learn isn’t for a specific practical value, but rather for dissection and discussion. I wasn’t learning linguistics for a certain actionable purpose, or at least it didn’t feel that way.

Now before I keep going, a lot of programs are not like this. Some of them are practical.

Now comes the private college. I’ve been studying to get my TESL certification, and one part of the program is two separate linguistics modules: phonology and general linguistics (which actually includes a lot).

The module taught the same, or similar, information, but there was a huge difference: each module was taught for a specific purpose, and it was entirely transparent as to what I was to do with the information. When it came to phonology, it was to improve pronunciation for L2 learners. When it came to syntax and historical linguistics, it was for teachers to get a background knowledge when it comes to teaching. The teaching of these modules had a focus.

Now I realize that comparing an introduction course in university to a specialized course in private college isn’t the best comparison, but it is just to point out a similarity that I’ve experienced. The reality is that I, amongst other students, left university feeling as if they have no practical knowledge or actionable skills. A communications major can go into journalism, but the program didn’t make me a good journalist. A course on documentaries was to dissect it, not on how to become a documentarian.

The reason why I write this is because the stigma that colleges face has no real reason to exist. As much as we pretend there is a hierarchy in terms of post-secondary education, there really shouldn’t be. I, as a university graduate, am absolutely not smarter than a college graduate. As a matter of fact, the lack of experience that a college student might have received in a practicum, a placement or a co-op leaves them in a better direction than I am. Yet, with all this, those who go to colleges are unfairly looked down upon and are thought to be inferior.

At the end of the day, I just paid a lot for a piece of paper that tells me I learned a lot. However, I had to go to a private college to fill a void that my university truly couldn’t accomplish.

And that’s it! I’d love to hear your thoughts as to whether you agree or disagree with me, or even if you have any questions! Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

Writing Update – Featured in an App!!

Hello everyone,

It has been a while since I’ve given any updates on my writing. I’ll just cut right to the chase.

In early 2017, I was contracted to write stories for a company called Happy Square Studios, an amazing Toronto-based company that develops apps. It was a short period, but we created some amazing and beautiful stories.

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Fear Sucks. – New Vlog Post

I know it has been a while since my last YouTube video (and I’ll address that in a later post), but recently I did a video called “Fear Sucks.”

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Writing With HaikuJAM

For those of you who are following my poetry account on Instagram (and for those of you who aren’t, click here to see my recent stuff!), some of you may have noticed the increasing amount of poems posted from HaikuJAM. You’ll also notice three names at the bottom of these pictures.

Well, where do we begin?

Screen Shot 2016-08-13 at 1.20.01 PM

I recently discovered an app called HaikuJAM on Instagram, and decided to give the app a try. Long story short, I was AMAZED. Not only is this app an amazing and creative idea, it’s simply a way for artists to collaborate.

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Etsy Shop Grand Opening, The Traveller, and a Poorly Written Update

I haven’t written an update in a long while, but I guess now would be a good time to write one!

There’s a lot that has happened over the past few months. So many projects, a lot more writing, exploring new and old things, binge-watching Friends (but that’s not relevant).

But two big things are in the works.

FIRST: the clearly illiterate café. now has a shop!

We are now officially on Etsy and selling prints! This is something I’ve been really wanting to do for a while, and I can’t wait to feature my new work there. We are starting with offering custom poetry prints, but soon plan to feature original calligraphy prints! This is something we are too excited for. You can access the store by clicking here or clicking the SHOP button at the top.

SECOND: The Traveller: Part I is to be released soon in paperback!

Although the eBook has been out for a while, my first poetry book The Traveller: Part I will be releasing very soon! We are just finishing the final touches and it will be available on Amazon! There will be more information coming soon so stay tuned to the blog. And yes, Part II is in the works.

THIRD: eBook sale!

The Traveller: Part I is on sale at Smashwords for FREE! It will be free until July 31st, so make sure you get it today! Smashwords offers most formats of the eBook so you’ll get access to all of them. Click here to get to the book and enter SFREE at checkout!

FOURTH: Politically Mateen

I have not done a Politically Mateen episode for a while. It was tough to get a video out during Ramadan, but one is definitely in the works…

You’ll be hearing more very soon about the first two points, and look out for a sale at the store.

Ramadan, Canadian Politics and Struggle

Ramadan is a very important month for Muslims all over the world. Every year during the Islamic month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. Although Muslims consume food or water during daylight, Muslims also cannot do anything that would be considered sinful (lying, etc.). The month is about spiritually building yourself into a better person.

Although it does sound like a struggle, it is actually a time of happiness. I’ve always seen Ramadan as a time to get together with your family and community, and to focus on yourself as a member of society.

This is why I think it’s amazing that Canadian politicians are going around making videos wishing Canadian-Muslims ‘Ramadan Kareem’ (which translates to generous Ramadan). This past election, which saw the Liberals take a majority government, was a big election for Canadian-Muslims. Groups like Canadian Muslim Vote and many others worked on getting Muslims to take part in civic engagement.

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Welcome to the New ‘the clearly illiterate café’ Website

Hello everyone!

‘the clearly illiterate café’ is almost two years old now, and that’s possibly the longest time I’ve ever held on to a blog or website. I thought this was the best time to expand my blog by separating from

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Justin Trudeau in Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill + video

Justin Trudeau came to the Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill riding this afternoon, meeting with supporters outside the Gramma’s Oven restaurant. Leona Alleslev, of the Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill Liberal riding, was present, as well as Majid Jowhari of the Richmond Hill Liberal riding. There were many people waiting in the rain, looking forward to meeting the possible future prime minister. It was a great experience being in the presence of such a charismatic leader. Everyone was excited and energetic. My father even got a hand shake from Justin!

Check out the video below:

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the end of

It has been a good two years, but all things must come to an end.

My professional website,, will be shutting down soon. My e-mail,, will also seize to receive any e-mails. The page itself will most likely not be accessible from anywhere.

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