A great reminder from our Campus Ambassador Rizalul in Indonesia!
Communication is one of the most important skills to learn for human beings, no matter how it is conducted. Today’s students are the masters of communication both formally and informally. One of the most important venues for formal communication is at a conference, especially international conferences for undergraduate students. There are many benefits, both globally and individually, of attending a conference. Not only do you further your education, but you also learn how to talk to people from diverse backgrounds.
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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!
Are you the 2% or 98% of the population?
Follow the instructions.
(NO PEEKING AHEAD!) Free will or synaptic wiring? You be the judge.
Do the following exercise, guaranteed to raise an eyebrow. There’s no trick or surprise.
Just follow these instructions, and answer the questions one at a time and as quickly as you can! Again, as quickly as you can but don’t advance until you’ve done each of them …. really.
Now, scroll down (but not too fast, you might miss something).
THINK of a number from 1 to 10 – got it?
scroll down until you see the next instruction
MULTIPLY that number by 9 – scroll down
If the number is a 2-digit number, ADD the digits together – scroll down
Now SUBTRACT 5 – scroll down
DETERMINE which letter in the alphabet corresponds to the number
you ended up with (example: 1=a, 2=b, 3=c,etc.) – scroll down
THINK of a country that starts with that letter – scroll down
THINK of the last letter of the name of that country – scroll down
THINK of the name of an animal that starts with that letter – scroll down
REMEMBER the last letter in the name of that animal – scroll down
THINK of the name of a fruit that starts with that letter – scroll down
Are you thinking of a Kangaroo in Denmark eating an Orange?
I told you this was FREAKY!! At least for me it was. If not for you, you’re among the 2% of the population whose minds are different enough to think of something else. 98% of people will answer with kangaroos in Denmark eating oranges when given this exercise. Freaky, huh?
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.
So yesterday I attended Un-Convention’s Un-conventional Women event in Manchester’s awe-inspiring Victorian neo-gothic town hall (I have a wee bit of a soft spot for anything gothic). A fairly last minute decision since I was only told of the event a couple of days prior, and Manchester isn’t exactly in my general area. Nevertheless I grabbed a friend and off we went, almost unacceptably early on a Sunday morning.
It was awesome.
The main reason I decided to go to this convention/conference wasn’t to indulge some kind of feminist man-hate that these events have an unfortunate tendency to turn to. I was interested in learning about what the “state of the art” in the music and media industries is today, how do these influential figures in the music industry understand the age of digital music, and how can I work the situation to my advantage in what is very much a male-dominated industry. Another reason was a chance to network with the speakers and others in the industry to further my base of contacts.
It was very eye-opening just how little understanding of the relationship between music and the internet was demonstrated by some of the speakers. And what a fantastic opportunity this is for our generation to become the next great innovators in the music industry.
But mainly, I have to say, I was incredibly pleasantly surprised by the sheer presence of the speakers. Most of these were charismatic, no nonsense women. They have every bit the confidence to play with the boys, and they elegantly shot down all the characters that show up in these crowds to cry and whine about how “the boys make mean jokes” and are “insensitive”. Have you ever seen a bunch of guys hanging out together? They’re not exactly having a tea party and complementing each other’s hair. If you’re having to work with a bunch of guys, you need to learn how be one of them. I’m not talking visually, or about renouncing your femininity. But you can’t expect to walk in a room and everyone adapting to you just because you’re a girl, because let me tell you something, sweetie:
That is not equal treatment. That’s preferential treatment. And you’re nothing more and nothing less than every guy in the room.
Besides, from my experience, most of the time a girl’s biggest enemy in a male-dominated place is the other girl. Just something to think about.
I’ve still got a thing or two to say, so stay tuned for Part 2!
Good morning everyone! How are you this fine day?
Yeah, Mondays suck.
Therefore instead of imparting my finite wisdoms upon you this week I’d rather impart upon you a challenge. Something to make you excited, elated, nervous, terrified, bursting with anticipation or all of that rolled up into one juicy burrito.
So here it is:
Instead of wallowing in your Monday Misery arrange to do something this week that you’ve never done before. Today if possible. It has to be something to get your heart rate up, or something that you’d never in a million years think that you’d be doing. Perhaps something you’ve been meaning to do but were too scared, or just something crazy you’ve never gotten around to doing. Drag some friends into it. Feeling uninspired? Tap your friends for inspiration.
And don’t forget to share what you did with us in the comments below!
Follow me on Twitter @Martholio. It’s good for you.
Great is the man who has not lost his childlike heart.
Always forgive your enemies — nothing annoys them so much.
— Oscar Wilde
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.
Change is often rejuvenating, invigorating, fun… and necessary
– Lynn Povich
There are two days about which nobody should ever worry, and these are yesterday and tomorrow.
– Robert J. Burdette
By Amy Bajurny (Queen’s University, Canada)
My experience abroad drastically changed my outlook as an individual, a Canadian and an academic. My exchange experience at The University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia gave me the opportunity to travel and see world-renowned sites, meet inspirational people from dozens of countries, study at a new post-secondary institution, and explore a foreign lifestyle. I can confirm that my character has developed for the better, into a self-assured, mature, ambitious Queen’s student; one who is willing to discover, learn from, meet, and share with anyone, anywhere.
My exchange experience also allowed me to find a balance in my life as a scholar, and adult. I was able to bridge the gap I formerly had in my mind as to where I would end up after graduation. From being immersed in a foreign, thriving city, I was able to better assess my traits and qualifications, understanding what I could see myself doing as a Stage and Screen graduate, in a large world, full of opportunities.
I believe Australia was the perfect country to help me find my place and purpose in society because I was exposed to so many new career ideas. For example, I had the opportunity to attend the largest short film festival in the world, TROP Festival. This helped me realize that I would love to become involved in the event planning of film festivals. Consequently, I have been inspired to apply to event planning internships internationally, and throughout Canada.
My exchange really motivated me to take more risks in life and put myself out there. With the encouragement and support of the International Programs office at Queen’s University, I was able to take a leap — and I landed on my feet. My exchange was a crucial period of growth and reward, surely a life-changing adventure I am very thankful for and will never forget.
Editor’s Note: Have you ever studied abroad? Do you have experiences to share? If you’d be interested in writing tips for students please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Position: Head Ambassador in India
Study Field: Bachelor in Engineering
Uni: Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT), India
Recently, it dawned upon me that I have just passed the halfway mark of my Bachelors course. This thought further instigated a session of self-reflection – a look back at all the memories, learning and occurrences that have shaped the most memorable two-and-a-half years of my life so far.
One thing that I noticed was that all these experiences had a common link that was instrumental in their realization – student events. Be it the competitions that have acted as an avenue to bridge the gap between the theoretical notions of my curriculum with relevant practicality or the conferences at which I have so often been left awe-inspired, it is without a shadow of doubt that I can affirm the positive contribution of student events in my undergraduate odyssey thus far.
“All these experiences had a common link… student events.”
Also, I have realized that some of the most inspiring moments in your life come through some of the most unexpected avenues. For example, it was at a conference on ‘sustainable lifestyles’ that I met an academic who enlightened me about this really cool concept called ‘design thinking’; a topic that I am now considering for my thesis. So next time you get the opportunity to get involved in a conference, competition or seminar, make sure that you go for it!
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!
We were asked to repeat our presentation to the board at headquarters on a Tuesday morning.
What happened that day still blows my mind. We arrived exactly 15 minutes early, so as to have plenty of time to chat before our presentation. Assuming our 10-minute presentation + discussion should take no longer than half an hour, we expected to be on our merry way back to the city for our second lecture by 11am…
This was not the first time we were kept waiting. This was also not the first time we were made to feel like our time wasn’t very important because, let’s face it, we are only ‘students’ with (what they assume) ‘nothing better to do’.
I decided to take a stand and make it clear that this kind of treatment was unacceptable if we were to continue an equal and respectful relationship. When one of the secretaries (who, bless her, had no fault in this) decided to check up on us to see if we needed anything, I had to let someone have it.
With the fires of Mordor snaking at my nostrils from within, I explained, in a level yet firm tone, that we had already sacrificed an important lecture in order to repeat a presentation (as a favour to them, no less) at their headquarters in the middle of nowhere on a weekday morning. Making us wait the better part of an hour for (what was later confirmed) no good reason whatsoever was, simply, rude and disrespectful. Finally, if they did not see us within the next five minutes, we would be leaving because, yes, we actually had other commitments (lectures to attend).
This whole time my fellow English teammates said nothing, a non-reaction I did not quite understand until my housemate Henry later explained that the Brits rarely say what they mean and that my reaction must have been more than enough on its own. And hey, it worked, because (lo and behold) 30 seconds and countless apologies later we were welcomed into the boardroom, nailed our presentation and were out of there in fifteen minutes. Like a boss.
Boom. That’s all I have to say on presentations, boardrooms and cultural differences for the time being. I will write again soon, until then I hope your have an awesome time! Wishing all the very best in 2012!!!
Shadowing some of the organization’s activities and services this Monday has been, hands down, the absolute highlight of my week. Who would have thought it?
Our team split up into three groups, and I went to check out a tea dance. It’s basically a Victorian English-style afternoon involving tea and dancing (ie. Waltzing and cucumber sandwiches, that kind of thing).
I was very glad to have gone, mainly on account of a rather interesting factor concerning the event:
the average attendee was in their mid-eighties.
There were several older gentlemen present for us to interview. We were able to gather many valuable and interesting responses (boy they had some stories to tell!), but it was talking to one particular 94-year-old lady that gave me a much appreciated new-found sense of optimism and possibility. In between rounds of dancing her little butt off, this nonagenarian talked about her love for conversation, education, keeping the mind active and the brain curious.
”You’re never too old to learn something new”, she stressed.
The woman earned her university degree in history at the age of 70! Now that’s something to think about, isn’t it.