Don’t delay being happy until the future. What can you do to be happy today? Right now?
“I believe I was put on earth to cause a ruckus.” ~ Lady GaGa
Post by Kieran Slobodin, Vice-President (University Affairs) at Queen’s University, Kingston.
April has always been a month of renewal. The bright rays of the April sun are the first glimmer of hope after the doldrums of a dreary winter and turn our minds to rejuvenation. April is when our parks fill up and our porches become occupied full time. Yes, April is like a Star Wars sequel: A New Hope.
Unless you’re in fourth year, in which case it blows.
On the last day of classes my house threw a party. Thursday, April 5, last day of classes. Last day of undergrad. Perhaps the last day of classes for all time (screw you, Grad School!). All that week facebook statuses were popping up with ‘last class!’ or ‘last seminar’ or ‘last Alfie’s night of my undergrad!’ Everyone was ecstatic and some people invested more time creating Facebook groups than they actually spent in class those final four days. Like freed prisoners we celebrated that night.
Like four exams. And two final papers. And a film project. Literally no one was done anything and the extended weekend of Easter only helped perpetuate that lie. Like a dark hangover cloud fourth year students are starting to realize that they still have to buckle down one last time and study hard. Unless you were blessed with a shortened semester you are still resigned to one last study blitz. Perhaps you only wish to pass the course and only need 8% on that 40% weight final to get your pass. But most likely you’re going to be faced with the same dilemma you were your other seven exam periods: you didn’t go to class and you have no idea what the course is about.
When the hell did I sign for Ayn Rand and Postmodern Epistomology: A Comparative Review?! Photo credit: QuickMeme.
Bucket lists as a concept were first perpetuated by Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson as a way to cheat death. Or make the most out of life. One of those. A bucket list as portrayed in the movie is essentially just a macabre wish list. However, ever since the Bucket List, arguably Morgan Freeman’s worst movie after Evan Almighty, there has not been a more tired cliché for graduating students.
Groosfrabas. Photo credit: Blogspot.
Bucket lists symbolize a last push by panicking students to capture every memory they can of university. The thought is that with a year of dedicated effort you can achieve in your final year what you failed to do in your first three.
There’s a reason you never did any of your bucket list in the first 75% of your undergraduate career. Whether it’s because your list is too challenging or too much work, you quickly realize that trying to capture stave off your inevitable nostalgia is sadder than Madonna trying to stay relevant.
The problem is when you try and cram in three years of missed opportunity you forget what makes the stuff you DID do fun. The point of the university experiences that typically wind up on bucket lists is the story behind the accomplishment. When you reduce those stories down to a checklist they tend to lose all meaning.
Apologies for the radio silence! Been much busier than expected with conferences, gigs and flying back home for a few weeks, and I have to admit I did forget to write last week. I am ashamed.
So while I was busy finishing assignments and then fulfilling the rock’n'roll part of my personal blurb on this blog (actually ran into one of the speakers from the Unconventional Women conference in a rock bar in London!), I also went to another conference. This time it was Business 2012, and I have to say it was quite an experience. And not all good.
Getting past the absolutely and unforgivably poor organisation of the event – we didn’t get to see Sir Richard Branson speak because they “couldn’t disclose the information” about which speakers were on & when! Srsly, what the eff? – the seminars and workshops we attended were quite surprising. In fact, my friend and I came to the conclusion that, with the exception of the seminars on trademarks and mobile internet, we could’ve gotten up on the spot and taught the seminars better than the speakers.
Now you might be thinking I’m crawling up my own rear end here, but it was very shocking how unprepared and unprofessional some of the speakers were. I did not come to sit through a seminar on the commercial use of twitter being taught by some middle aged guy who gets up and starts off with “Well I’m actually really bad with social media and some kid I have working for me actually does it all.” Why are you here giving your “advice” then?
This conference was really an example of making it too broad and in turn making a big mess of an event. To top it off the seminars were overbooked so we had to sit on the floor, and The O2, where the conference was being held, was freezing cold.
But perhaps most notably,
The best and most informative seminar was the one given by one of the youngest speakers there.
Just something to think about. And comment on below.
P.S. The saving grace for the last day was the British Music Experience museum of popular music which is in the same building, and which I HIGHLY recommend you visit if you can!
As some of you may have noticed if you saw last week’s post, I took a litttle trip to Manchester last weekend. The following Monday I wrote a post about it which covered the gender-related conclusions, this week I want to talk more about why it’s important to go to these things whenever you can.
When I went to this conference, I didn’t really know what to expect or even how formal or informal it’s going to be. I went there with the expectation to learn something about the state of the music and media industries from the women that are actually in the thick of it, and at the same time see what they’re like and if I ever enter any of these arenas, what are the people I would likely be working for like. And I went to see if I could gather any information that would be useful for my dissertation on live music and heavy metal.
Turns out the conference was so relaxed you could easily approach the speakers after each panel, a golden opportunity for anyone who, like me, was looking to build contacts. It took some courage and the best opening lines I could muster to do it, but I went up to them. I introduced myself, I commented on the points made in the panel, I took and interest in their work. And I walked away with not one, but two interview arrangements for my dissertation research. We are now also connected through various social media, therefore I am on their radar for future opportunities and have a huge edge against most of the competition if I do apply for a job with any of them, simply because they’ve met me before.
Competitions are good, you get prizes and pretty CV material. But conferences give you the chance to make your presence known among the industry community, which WILL give you an edge and might even bring the job to you.
It’s time to put that natural charm to good use!
P.S.: Next weekend I’ll be attending another conference in London which lasts until Tuesday so the post should be out later the following week, but the delay should be well worth it.
By Arush Chandna
The Airbus-Fly Your Ideas Challenge was one of the most enriching experiences of my life. Thanks to this competition, I got to work on a really cool idea, with two very intellectual peers under the guidance of a really inspirational and experienced mentor.
Since a very young age, I have possessed a penchant for aviation. One day, as I was browsing through StudentEvents, I saw that Airbus was organizing an event for students. I was elated. I knew I had to do this.I got in touch with two of my friends, both aviation enthusiasts like me and we decided to start-off.
We were working together on such a project for the first time and I believe that the instant cohesion of our team was one of the main reasons we made it to the semi-finals of the event. This was also the first time that I got to work under a senior employee from the industry for a competition.Our team’s mentor, a highly experienced Airbus employee not only came across as an excellent and inspirational guide, but also as a model professional.
We were absolutely amazed by his ability of pinpointing the loopholes of our 5000-word report and presenting them in a very precise, yet articulate and convincing manner. By the end of the 9 and half months over which the competition spanned, I gained memories that would last a lifetime. What had actually started out as a task to build my resume actually turned into something much more than just that.
From our initial brainstorming sessions to eagerly awaiting our mentors feedback every time we sent him a draft of our proposal, I believe that the lessons that I have learnt from each phase of this competition will go a long way with helping me in my professional life.
Here’s a question:
How many times have you looked at listings for jobs or internships or competitions or whatever else from the “I’m doing something with my life” basket that has stated being “creative” as a requirement, and actually understood what that meant?
If you actually tried to answer the question I’m betting about 99% of you choked on your own mental monologue at least once in the first few minutes. Many of you will go somewhere along the route of “it depends on the situation”.
And you’re right: it does depend on the situation/field/employer. But even more importantly:
Most of the time, employers don’t even know themselves.
Creativity has become one of business’ favourite buzz words. It takes the mind away from a dry, old-fashioned perception of something into a hip, fun, “anything is possible” world of both unprecedented achievement and caring. It implies personal development and an almost romantic view of what lies ahead. And it is directly linked to feelings of bitter disillusionment.
It is without much doubt one of the most devalued words in our dictionaries but nevertheless, it still represents something crucial to all of us – it represents pushing yourself to think and act beyond your own limits. Creativity, originality, and ingenuity. It reminds us to not become complacent in our routine, but to “think outside the box”.
And that’s really what employers in any situation are looking for when they say they are looking for someone “creative”. They are looking for the individuals who are open-minded and motivated enough not to become complacent in their work routine, and see and take advantage of the opportunities that can lead to great things.
And I think that’s a little something we all can write on a post-it and stick on our desks.
Have a great week!
P.S. Follow me on Twitter @Martholio for more musings, event info and general silliness!
First off, apologies for the late post today. It’s been a pretty hectic weekend with lots of lovely and some not so lovely little adventures, but either way I hope you will forgive me and still enjoy this week’s post!
As some of you may or may not know I also work for Warwick Students Union as an Entertainments Representative (basically telling people where/when to party, wooo!).
Warwick SU is a non-profit organisation that is technically separate from the university but works very closely with it to enhance the “student experience”. To quote our motto, the union is “run by students, for students”. In the UK pretty much every university has a corresponding SU which is a great way for them to listen to their students’ voices and be able to improve their offering. On the other hand SUs are also a great way for students to get their voices heard about issues on everything from academia to living costs and social causes.
SUs however have evolved far beyond just student-university liaison, as my job title can tell you. They are the central hub for university social life through managing all university Societies and Sports Clubs, providing student-priced cafés/pubs/restaurants/shops, entertainments through club nights, events and live concerts and much, much more. They also form the central student support system for non-academic issues, so basically anything from fixing your computer to counselling.
Here’s a link to our website if you want to have a look! http://www.warwicksu.com/
Personally I think SUs are something that the UK Higher Education system really got right, but I know not many countries (including my native Slovenia) have such a well organised and centralised system just for student well-being.
So I’m wondering, what kind of support systems do Unis in your neck of the woods have? Do they simply unleash you into the wilds of academia with nought but your cunning to protect you or is it a more centralised approach like in the UK? I really want to know!
P.S. Apologies for not replying to comments yet, been very busy but will get back to you before the day is over!
The deadline looms nearer and nearer and here I am, sitting in front of the computer, staring at my screen with an expression that could be described as void with a subtle hint of desperation. Indeed, this has been a ritual for a number of days now as I attempt to offer a work of my great knowledge of intellectual property law to the scrutiny of the panel of professors and external markers, but cannot produce said work in the required physical form.
In other words, I’ve got an essay due and I just can’t squeeze the words out of my brain. Your faithful blogger, my friends, is suffering from writer’s block.
In fact, I’m suffering such writer’s block I decided to write about it because I couldn’t think of anything else to write about this week.
My usual remedy is to go do something completely unrelated for a few hours and come back with a fresher mind, in the hope that I’ll see things from a better (more writable) perspective. This time it turned into spending hours on Facebook, YouTube, 9GAG and BBC iPlayer. And driving my friends nuts with floods of posts.
Other times I try brainstorming ideas, concepts or characteristics of/around the issues I’m supposed to discuss. Usually this gives me at least a couple of ideas I can begin expanding on. This time, nothing. I can only hope to get out of this funk and actually write something before the deadline.
So now I ask you, my darling readers. What do you do when you have writer’s block? Post your suggestions in the comments below!
Having faced what has probably been the busiest December of my life to date, I can’t help but admit that I’m a teensy weensy bit tired. Actually, I lie, I’m exhausted. So as I was finishing things up for this year and planning some well deserved days off I got to thinking about just how important taking the time to sit back and recharge is.
Listening to lecturers, colleagues, career gurus and whatnots inadvertently makes me a little nervous. Somehow many of us are being pushed to think we should have finished 10 internships, entered 30 competitions and climbed mount Kilimanjaro with orphans strapped to our backs in the past month, all the while doing our coursework well and on time. If we don’t we’ll never get a job. Ever.
Well, let me tell you something. Taking time for yourself is important. Continue reading
Hello all our lovely readers,
Hope the New Year is treating you all well, and if it isn’t then it can only get better!
Today we’re hijacking the Follow Friday Twitter trend. It’ll give you a chance get to know the team behind this blog and the rest of our Campus Ambassadors a bit better! You can tweet us your questions, comments or whatever you feel like. We have all sorts of inspiring, quirky and wonderful individuals in our midst with all sorts of ideas and interesting tweets, so check us out!
Sarah, the Big Campus Ambassador Chief! – http://twitter.com/#!/SarahWitiuk
Marta – http://twitter.com/#!/Martholio
Barbara – http://twitter.com/#!/bpoberc
Angelina – http://twitter.com/#!/MeowAngie
Sreekanth – http://twitter.com/#!/sreeitbhu
Satyaprem – http://twitter.com/#!/Satyaprem007
Archit – http://twitter.com/#!/arc7971
Xarlish – http://twitter.com/#!/XarlishAmjad
Prashannth – http://twitter.com/#!/vprashannth
Mayur – http://twitter.com/#!/Mayur_sk
Vincent – http://twitter.com/#!/azode90
Rizalul – http://twitter.com/#!/sora_mean_ciel
Adedapo – http://twitter.com/#!/daclean2003
Looking forward to hearing from you all!
Just a few days ago I was sitting here at my desk, contemplating life (read: procrastinating) when I remembered a question that kept popping up at almost every social event I’ve been to since the beginning my course:
“Creative Industries? What the…?”
A simple answer to remedy the confusion is this: all the music, films, literature, advertisements, video games and other “artful” things you encounter in your everyday life are creative industries.
They are businesses producing and selling cultural products in all shapes and formats.
They might be from your home town, or imported from some distant land (think: Hollywood movies in the UK or Susan Boyle in the US). Although individual artists may loathe admitting it, making a living off of creativity is a business. Continue reading
By Arush Chandna, Head Ambassador in India
First of all, let me share with you why I chose this topic for my post.
To start off with, I have received 5 this week. So you can say, I was just in the mood for it.
Many of you may be actively involved in extra-curriculars (as I’m sure a lot of you reading this post are) will be quite familiar with this feeling. It sure can be gutting to get rejected for a business plan competition when you’ve worked on it for 3 months.
Recently, I received an email from the organizer of a conference that my profile was amongst the top three they were considering for the position, but they only had to select one.
The last line of the email read, “We advice you not to get discouraged”. Aww c’mon!!
But believe me, there is a way of overcoming this disappointment. And although this, I know is easier said than done, it is pretty easy and works quite well for me. Whenever I’m feeling a bit low, I just take half a day off and start working on 3 new applications. Trust me, in time; this does pay its dividends.
Because when you get that one mail that says, “Congratulations, you have been selected” or “We would be glad to invite you to…” oh boy, it sure does feel special.