Hello, my name is Elijah Aedo-Castillo. I’m a second-year (U1) undergraduate student studying Honours History and Indigenous Studies, and I am the Black Student Ambassador/Coordinator at Branches McGill. My role is to interact with secondary students throughout Canada, providing them with positive reinforcement and pertinent information about navigating university life. A huge part of my job is guiding youth toward the self-awareness, compassion, and acceptance needed to actualize extraordinary academic aspirations, personal growth, and community uplift. Our team has provided prospective McGill students, ages 10-20, with numerous virtual and in-person “Get University Ready” workshops, open houses, campus tours, and panel discussions. My favourite part of my work is planting positive seeds in the minds of the youth, reaffirming their innate greatness, and constantly reminding them that they are more than capable of accomplishing anything they set their minds to. I often hear students expressing debilitating inhibitions and anxieties about their future, and it is a serious goal of mine to help them experience the liberating relief that results from defining one’s own standards of success, cherishing the present moment, trusting in oneself, eclipsing paralyzing fear and stress and alleviating the burdens of others. Since I am only nineteen, I can directly relate to all the students I interact with. When I talk with students, many express how they are navigating the same dilemmas and tribulations I experienced (and continue to experience) in my teens. The students I work with come from diverse backgrounds but, unfortunately, do not see themselves represented in Canadian academic/professional realms. Therefore, offering a context for intellectual exchange between inquisitive young students and their highly accomplished/relatable elders enables students to broaden their horizons and re-evaluate adverse preconceived notions regarding their aptitudes and socio-economic prospects. Hearing feedback about how students enter our program feeling incompetent in certain regards and leave feeling lively and motivated is such an exhilarating and fulfilling experience. Working with Branches continues to play an integral role in my university experience and transition into adulthood. Branches Community Outreach Program allows me to travel throughout Montreal to speak with and encourage young students who have deep-seated doubts about their futures. Having the platform to speak with young individuals in an honest and enriching manner, spurring them towards unleashing their unbounded creativity, is such a privilege, and I implore everyone to reach out, collaborate and get involved. I know that many of my fellow McGill students are inclined to participate in community engagement and share their university experiences. Volunteering or working with Branches is undoubtedly the best way, as a McGill student, you can have a lasting and invaluable positive impact on the trajectory of our youth!