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Shout Out

During my first week as a St. Jerome’s resident, all the students were invited to participate in a talent show. It was my first time away from home. I was already missing my parents and feeling out of place in a new environment. That night I performed a spoken word poem called “Shout Out,” an anthem to all the things in my life that I was grateful for. Once it was over, there was a room filled with students clapping, somehow all grateful for some of the exact same things. In many ways that night (and that poem) set the tone for the rest of my University of Waterloo career. It seems only fitting that as I graduate from this part of my life, the last things I write about are shout outs for all the things UWaterloo has given me.

A group gathered on a field


I want to make a shout out. A shout out to the second hallway in Sweeney Hall, to the henna nights, and the Econ midterms. A shout out to summer semesters and planning the best ways to avoid the geese.

To the tenth floor of DP; I have had more group projects than most of us ever want but the friends I made crying over business proposals are some of the best people I’ve ever met. I want to make a shout out to the ones we lost, the ones who are not here today, and to us for not being able to stay quiet abo­­ut it. A shout out to the “have you eaten today?” friends and the “call me when you’re home” friends, and the “this is your last exam, I’m taking you out” friends.

A shout out to Bomber drag nights, poetry slams, and hashtag fries. A shout out to East Campus Hall whose grounds and people mean more to me than words could ever describe. I spent so much of my time in these rooms being told that we weren’t just students, that we had the power to create revolutions, and make art that was a constant reminder of how heartbreaking and wonderful this life could be. A shout out to the tables and the presses and the walls. You’ve seen me at my best and at my worst and I couldn’t be more grateful for you. A shout out to my family (I would be lost without you) and to my professors who are incredible artists in their own right (I learn more from you every single day). To staying up until 5 a.m. until an art piece works or to staying up until 5 a.m. talking about how one day we are going to be artists and how we are through with leaving this earth worse than we got it, we will try our best to only leave it better.

Art Studio

And most of all a shout out to you.

If we have talked or worked together, I don’t know what else to say but thank you for sharing your existence with me. George Bernard once said that “the youth is wasted on the young” and I think about that sometimes, about how untrue it is. About how if he had met the youth that I have met, he would have realized that we have wanted nothing for so long but to shake the dust off this earth, how we have studied, protested, chanted and, rallied for every cause that made this place more than the sum of its parts. So UWaterloo, a shout to you and most of all thank you.  

Yasmeen Nematt Alla

Yasmeen Nematt Alla is a visual artist as well as a graphic designer and you can check out some of her work at or follow her on Instagram