Enactus, University

Being Selfish

I would not say I’m a selfless person. I wouldn’t even often say I’m a particularly nice or caring person. I’m often mean, standoffish, and rude. I am however, incredibly bad at telling people no. My inability to refuse to do things for people is the reason behind my over-involvement in every society I have ever joined, and lots of extra stress. I can’t say I always agree to do things because I am such a kind hearted and caring person either, I just seem to be unable to say no, though I will complain about it.

I say yes to doing the entire group project, planning the event that is not my job, and fixing problems I didn’t cause. I say yes to rewriting an entire 17 minute script because someone asked even when I have essentially no time and don’t actually care to begin with. I say yes all to often because I feel I have to, that if I don’t it won’t happen, and I seem to be incapable of letting that happen. It doesn’t have to be my job to fix the problem, but I will make it.

I said no this time. I was asked to give up the position I wanted the position that would make me happy, in order to do something that while it is technically ‘better’ has no interest to me. Writing the words “I turned down being president of a society” sounds presumptuous and rude. I really almost didn’t write this because it doesn’t feel like the kind of thing you can say. But I was asked to be president of a society, which would mean leaving behind all the parts of the society I love in order to do what is basically admin work. And while that part of a society is good and important, its not what I love. I wouldn’t say its what I’m incredibly good at, though I know I am capable of it.

However, being me, and for all the reasons I explained, I was going to say yes. I was going to say yes because I was asked and I told myself that me being unhappy with my position was one of those ‘greater good’ sacrifices. That maybe I had to be unhappy about what I was doing, but it would mean all the good things would get to happen. Luckily, I have some incredible people in my life who spent weeks telling me otherwise. That I didn’t have to do all the things I hate just because someone asked. That I am allowed to choose what I want to do, and that its not my responsibility to fix the rest of the problem. Who calmed me down, and didn’t make me do it alone.

So I said no, that I wouldn’t do it. I caused trouble, upset a lot of plans, and made some people not too happy with me. I don’t regret any of that, I don’t particularly care about people being happy with me. I only that it hurt people I care about, because at the end of the day I did make a selfish decision, and it did affect others. So I’ll be sorry about that for the rest of time. But I am so incredibly happy I said no.

And lets be honest, I would have been a disaster of a president. Corporate offices make me want to vomit, I have no patience for the self-congratulatory rhetoric so often used, and I wear ripped jeans to far too many important meetings. So that is what I will continue to do, resume building and prestige aside.

Alex

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University

International Women’s Day

While all days should celebrate women, March, as women’s history month, and specifically March 8th, as International Women’s Day, are important. This year, I got to help organize a number of events on our campus to celebrate the day.

The first, and possibly my favourite event, was a panel on women in religion. While I’m a bit biased, as this is what I study, and I was lucky enough to chair it, the panel was incredibly diverse and had some amazing answers to a number of tough questions, from how religion can be a place for equality, to how our gendered rhetoric of “God” can affect our faith. 12792218_10153363527486767_7680097968735359878_o10446042_10153363531286767_3140959838720597427_o

 

I was able to attend the Women in Science panel, which was incredibly interesting despite not being in a science field. It was wonderful to hear from academics in the departments the way university structures, from ability to work part time and accessible child care affect how women progress within academia.

We were also able to host a Women in Student Media panel, which was so exciting because while the other events had been interesting, they were all academics and professionals, where this panel was able to discuss events on campus and how students lives are impacted by gender in campus societies. And as someone in Student Media, it was really great to hear from some of the passionate and powerful women in the years above me who have made the way in student media for women, as well as how we can continue to address gender disparities in the representations we create.

Sadly, I was unable to attend the open mic night that was filled with what I know were amazing performances by women from across our campus.

International Women’s day is special, and happy. But also a great reminder of what we have to work towards. But for a bit, I just want to celebrate being a woman, and all the incredible ladies in my life.

Alex

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Enactus, Travel

Romania

When we set off on this trip, there was so much we didn’t know.I can’t say we know it all now, not even close, but this trip has closed some of the gap between the research, fact based knowledge we had before, and the practical knowledge one gets from being on the ground. No matter how many times you read the academic journal articles about trafficking, and study the facts about poverty rates, seeing the issues in front of you makes it all the more real

When we got on the plane, there was a fair amount of stress, at least for me. We didn’t know the country we were going to, we don’t speak the language, we’ve never met the people we were going to before. One Skype call and dozens of emails only makes one so comfortable when your flying 1,500 miles and they’re your only contact in the country. But we were greeted at the airport by a very excited Puiu, and whisked away to a comfortable hotel and a wonderful dinner with our main project partner. From the moment we landed the project began moving too fast for us to sit and worry about the issues that had made me so stressed in the days leading up to our departure.

We did so many things, and had so many conversations. The trip was an emotional rollercoaster on both the project planning side, and the emotional aspect of working with such a traumatic issue. The night after our first full day, there was a panicked phone call back home because, as with all international projects, there were changes and unknowns that we just didn’t know how to handle. Luckily, we happen to have an amazing Project Director and some incredibly helpful alumni to give us advice, calm us down, and sort out problems. However, after that night, things settled down. We were more focused on our vision, we had a clearer plan because we were able to incorporate the things we were learning on the ground with the ideas and plans we had made back in Lancaster.

Everyone asked if I was excited to leave. I guess Romania, and what we were doing, may not sounds like everyone’s favourite thing to be doing. But I wasn’t ready to leave. Its hard to leave a place where there is so much need. And while I know the majority of the work I can do is here, its hard to get on a plane and fly back to my pretty campus in the north of England when leaving behind so much hurt.

 

I will try to post more specific updates of the project as it grows, but well, the project keeps me a little busy.

Alex

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