Originally from Cameroon, Fomé is an avid volunteer and reader of memoirs — from Zora Neale Hurston to Issa Rae.
To succeed at school while doing the things she loves, Fomé mastered the art of planning a “passion roadmap” while sipping bubble tea and wearing her exam-acing pearl earrings.
Here's her insight into undergraduate life.
'Be unapologetically you'
The first year at university is about creating your comfort zone.
For me, that meant finding out where to get the best bubble tea — NosThés on Ste. Catherine Street. They use dark-roasted oolong tea. I don’t drink coffee, so I locked down a café with good hot chocolate, as well as one near campus to meet study groups and hang out with friends.
I think everyone goes to school wanting to meet a solid group of friends you’ll have forever. The best way to find your circle is to embrace who you are — be unapologetically you. That attracts the kind of people who belong in your life.
'Put your goals down on paper'
When you start hunkering down to work, priority number one is finding your favourite study zones.
I do my personal planning there in a passion roadmap that charts my goals over time — three months, one year, three years. There’s something about putting your goals down on paper, taking that extra step, that’s motivating. It increases your chances of following through.
'Hit the reset button'
At university, the best way to recharge your batteries is to change the scenery once in a while!
Another favourite escape is the movie theatre. Recently, I went with friends to see Hidden Figures, Moonlight and the Disney movie Moana because I’m totally obsessed with Lin-Manuel Miranda.
He wrote the movie’s hit song “How Far I’ll Go.” I admire his humility — he always says there’s more to accomplish. He totally reclaimed Alexander Hamilton as a historic figure in the popular imagination.”
It’s amazing when you finally hit that red carpet at Place des Arts. I love that it’s red; it makes you feel like a celebrity!
Before the ceremony, all the grads go upstairs to queue up and you don’t see a sad face in the crowd.
We’re all so happy to have gotten to this day. The energy is electric. You see friends you haven’t seen in a long time — familiar faces that were there when you first started your degree.
There’s a real sense of celebration and community.
'Big accomplishments are built on small successes'
I think it’s really important to listen to the people who speak at convocation — even if it might be easy to tune out because you’ve been sitting for so long.
Kim Thúy is our honorand and she says something that really resonates with me: it’s often the little steps that are most important.
That’s what I learned from my undergraduate years. Big accomplishments are built on smaller successes, and consistently putting in that bit of effort each day adds up in the end.
‘Everything has come full circle’
Right before going on stage, I'm thinking, “Don’t fall, don’t fall.” Because, of course, the girl who never wears heels decides to put on four-inch heels the day of her graduation.
However, once I walk on stage, I start dancing and pumping my hands in the air because I can’t help but celebrate.
What’s more, one of the people who shakes my hand and gives me my degree is one of the very first professors I ever had: Sandra Gabriele, a woman for whom I have tremendous respect. So, I give her a hug as she passes me my diploma.
It really feels like everything has come full circle.
‘You are exactly where you need to be’
I know it’s a cliché to say the future holds anything and everything, but it certainly feels that way. I’m currently pursuing a Graduate Diploma in Journalism.