My Week in Summer ‘Holiday’ Before I Graduate
Today is Tuesday 23rd July 2019 and tomorrow is my graduation from the University of Bristol, but this is what I did last week…
On Wednesday I was invited to De Montfort University in Leicester for a meeting and to speak at one of their graduation week lectures. I shared the work of Paryavaran Mitra (PM), which followed a panel Q&A session where I was asked about a range of things from the audience from the UN Sustainable Development Goals to spirituality. It felt strange being asked about these big things in front of an audience of adults who had way more experience than me, but I embraced it and enjoyed the experience.
On Thursday I had a meeting with King’s College London, on Friday I met with University College London and on Monday I had a meeting with Imperial College Business School, all regarding PM’s social entrepreneurship workshop proposal. If some of these workshops get arranged, I will be back in the UK in October to deliver them.
These meetings didn’t get arranged overnight. They were a result of efforts started the day after my last exam from university two months before; putting documents together, sending numerous emails, having many phone conversations, engaging my brain to deliver these aims etc.
I thoroughly enjoyed this week, travelling around, meeting different people and learning throughout, but over the past couple of months prior to this week there has been a part of my brain saying to me, “this is your last summer holiday, relax, have fun, enjoy yourself! Why are you stressing out working?! You’re not even being paid!!”
I guess these thoughts came up because, 1. I put a lot of pressure on myself to deliver, 2. The perception that exists around work you’re not being paid for is ‘charity’ and ‘not real work’ and 3. Fearing that all these efforts would be for nothing because a part of me felt that no university would actually sign up to this, which means that I could actually be spending my last ever summer holiday chilling instead and, if this is the outcome, it also validates point 2.
Although I had these thoughts, they were always temporary and transient, because from both a short term and long term perspective, these thoughts were overweighed by actually loving the grind knowing that I am putting effort in for something I care about. And whether the workshops get arranged or not I feel confident that the skills and experience I have gained through this process will serve me well in the future. Valuing the process of something regardless of the end result is something that I have spoken about in a previous blog, which you can read here.
Moreover, when doing work for PM, thinking about the work the rag-picking women do and the lives that they have in India always keeps me motivated, knowing the daily hard work and struggle they go through. This gives me a sense of responsibility and perspective on my relative struggles.
Fast forward 3 months and today is Wednesday 23rd October 2019. Today I conducted the last of 4 workshops delivered across different universities in the UK.
Fast forward another 3 months and today is Thursday 23rd January 2020. As a result of the workshops, we have already had students and professors actually come to PM in India to engage with us further. 6 months prior, I could have never imagined that my efforts over summer would result in securing even a single workshop, let alone them having a real impact on others, which will now go on to shape their careers.
Fast forward another 3 months and today is Thursday 16th April 2020. I am currently building on the work I have done over the past year because I see a real opportunity for this to be the foundation for my future career. As predicted, the skills and experience I gained from my efforts last year are now proving incredibly useful in my next pursuit and I also feel more confident in my ability to deliver than I did one year ago.
Fast forward another 3 months…