‘The hard work means nothing if you don’t have something to show. It can be a horrendous loss but you have to lay your cards on the table. For that, you need to act humble and understand that only you can make it happen.’
Your honest cards are your best cards. You can defend your truth better than you can your lies.
There have been some evident failures in my life and while it’s easy to gloss over them and move on; that is a reactionary state to how we act to most situations.
It’s not right nor appropriate.
We’re impeding on our social development.
The scariest thing someone can do is explain their research to school kids.
People who probably don’t care nor actually want to be there.
How do you engage them?
How do you keep them from talking?
And how do you manage your expectations?
Today Olly, Kendra, Molly and I spoke about our dissertations in terms of research methods and limitations to year 12s and year 13s from local schools.
Before we get into this, we need some context.
This aspiration of getting students to listen to us on our dissertation topics and transferable skills started before I was actually President.
It started while the previous committee were finishing their term.
The proactivity of the Society has now led us to surpass 100 members.
Make connections with local organisations and international charities.
Create value for our members and learn some important skills on leadership, project management and marketing.
Back in May, when my former VP and I made contact with Kate (the Widening Participation Officer for QMUL Geography), we were shooting for distant stars.
It was five months prior to today.
We were planning for something that might not even happen.
Plans change. Circumstance change.
And for the Society and my former VP — it did.
Nonetheless, we continued to work closely with Kate.
Kate deserves tremendous appreciation for her organisation of the event.
One of our aims is to branch out the goals of the School of Geography and aid recruitment for future years through school visits and lectures.
This, one month into the start of the new academic year, was the first instalment of our mission statement.
After a long summer of dissertation research and internships, the team came back in September and we had one month till today.
It’s safe to say that earlier this year that I didn’t know if this event would happen.
Either because the Society didn’t hold up its end of the bargain or something infrastructural that ruined plans.
I remained rather nonchalant about it until a few weeks before.
It was real and it was happening.
The same sense of euphoria can be said about the dissertation itself.
The research collection and learning from my month in Fort Worth taught me an incredible deal about life in an emerging American city.
Until I boarded the flight on American Independence Day, I didn’t think it was happening.
Same with boarding the flight to Houston for my study abroad semester in Austin earlier that academic year.
The sense of accomplishment of doing the work to get to that point was all on me.
And that’s the point that comes from this.
While I had to procure Molly to help out with the fourth presentation last minute, the whole team was depending on my communication with Kate to make this happen.
It was on me.
When you take leadership on something, it’s on you.
And you might not realise it, but everything you do is on you.
More so on an individual basis than a team basis, but you hold the responsibility.
When you make yourself accountable and take the blame for all the losses, life becomes happier and senseless.
It becomes easier to step outside your comfort zone.
I deliberately don’t prepare notes for presentations like this.
It’s also because I usually have little time to prepare.
But I like to use my knowledge and expertise to win me through.
I know my topic inside-out and public speaking for me is more about experience rather than worry of what will go wrong.
One of the greatest problems in our generation today is one of not understanding that entitlement won’t hold onto you forever.
School. University. It will all come to a crashing end.
When it does, your support system (structurally) disappears.
So what do you do now?
You might think to apply to jobs you don’t want to do.
But the onus is on you.
I had to make this happen (with Kate) for the QMGS.
I had to make my dissertation interviews count.
I had to take the opportunities when they presented themselves.
No-one pushed me to do. My environment wasn’t super competitive that if I didn’t participate I’d be left out.
It was a personal decision.
And that’s why I’ve had so many failures for lack of direction, wandering on my own, but that’s no-one to blame.
It was my decision and that’s why I can stand strong by my wins and losses.
Today was a win.
A win for a generation that might not know how to navigate their next steps.
A win for a person who didn’t know who he was or how he was going make an impression two years ago.
A win for a community that needs some reassurance that it will be okay if you let your character shine through.
A win for me, my personal and social development.
Making it happen