We are told that we are all different, yet we are taught to be exactly the same.
I started my university life as a normal student with more anxiety than motivation. In my second year, I heard about the Global Leadership Program.
I have always been driven but at this point in time, I was more academic than social so I decided to step out of my comfort zone and join GLP at the beginning of 2012.
At the very beginning I felt that it was impossible to achieve 200 points. Furthermore, I felt nervous attending the Distinguished Speaker Series and hearing from Excellence Award winners who had accomplished things that seemed impossible to a normal attendee, but it did leave me with a thought:
‘If they could, why cant I?’
I decided to start with the things I enjoyed and I got involved mentoring students for the majority of my first year in the Program. I enjoyed throwing welcome parties for new students so I also lead the SIBT Student Association.
I also mentored high school students that were at risk of not completing high school, helping to inspire and persuade them to complete.
Not everything in life goes according to plan. In my second semester of 2012 I contracted an intestinal infection that impacted my health and academics critically. I had to quit my part time job and take a break from all my responsibilities to get efficiently diagnosed and treated.
This caused sudden chaos in my life. I lost motivation and felt like a failure. Nothing and no one made sense at this point.
At my lowest point, I made a decision to change my path. I decided to throw myself right in, to participate, to get involved in everything that caught my eye, to communicate with people and to repair my emotional state.
I started with volunteering for dementia patients at Hunters Hill Ryde Community Centre mainly because I wanted to verbalise my thoughts, communicate and revive an old hobby of mine which I had discovered as a teenager – volunteering.
You don’t need a set of analytical and technical skills to volunteer, as long as you are willing, you can do it. It is so important to find something that you genuinely like and stay committed to it.
And it worked. I found my motivation and got back on the horse. It started off with volunteering and went on to do a sign language course, attend the GLP Canberra Symposium and attend various on and off campus seminars. Due to my co-curricular vitae, I scored an internship at an AMP Financial Planning firm that elevated my profile.
At the end of 2013 I was elected as one of the two candidates for a CEO forum Luncheon held by Women in Banking and Finance. I had the opportunity to dine with 10 executives and the only thing I talked about to all of them was about my involvement in GLP. I also found my mentor in this group.
Due to the response I received from the Luncheon cohort, I decided to push myself more towards the things I liked.
At the beginning of 2015 I participated in the Harvard National Model United Nations as an individual delegate representing Oxfam in the NGO program, held at Harvard University, Boston. I also went back during the winter break to do a short course in Applied Mathematics: Graphing Theory at the Graduate School of Arts and Applied Sciences at Harvard University.
You never know what you can achieve until you make an effort to try it. The Global Leadership Program started off as a segue for me to make up for what I thought I lacked, but the more I participated in various events, the more I realized how invaluable this program is.
Our education system is meant to produce smart graduates but we miss out on developing our soft skills, cross cultural competency, understanding of global issues or community responsibility.
I believe someone somewhere is waiting to be rescued from anxiety, the fear of not fitting in or not maintaining the perfect score. I would recommend GLP as the perfect antidote. The opportunities that I have utilized in the Global Leadership Program, in conjunction with the networks I have established, have provided me with an unparalleled view of the future and kick-started my career.
Due to my substantial involvement in the program I also won the Undergraduate Excellence Award at the Distinguished Speaker Series this year!
The most important lesson that I learnt during my experience was to remain authentic and do the things that define me. You do not have to follow someone else’s path, you should make it your own.
“It will cost you nothing to dream and everything not to.”― Rodney R. White
Abhilasha Trivedi is studying towards a Bachelor of Applied Finance and started the Global Leadership Program midway through 2012. She impressed GLP staff with her Excellence Award application and was one of two Excellence Awardees at our Distinguished Speaker Series event with Rachel Botsman in October.