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New Year, New Me: Time to Complete that GLP

Maddison is a final year Bachelor of Social Science with Bachelor of Laws (Criminology and Social Justice) student. When she isn’t drinking copious amounts of coffee, she is reading, writing and looking at ways in which she can have an impact on the world around her. Recently, Maddison joined forces with a team of Macquarie University women to get a social enterprise called ‘Glue and You’ off the ground – to support victims of domestic violence in its aftermaths. She credits the GLP for giving her the motivation to continue on a path of global citizenship and advocacy, but most importantly, a life of continuous learning.

We’ve all been there, New Year, New Year’s resolutions (that will likely go unfulfilled) – this was me in a nutshell. The year was 2015, I was going into the third year of my undergraduate degree, I had just started working for Macquarie University, and I felt that I wasn’t making the most of my Macquarie University student experience. However, that was all about to change when a friend of mine recommended that I consider doing the Global Leadership Program (GLP). I’d never heard of the program before, but I signed myself up in a heartbeat. However, I recall sitting in my undergraduate welcome session, and thinking to myself, that “I’m not going to be able to do this – I’ve only got till 2017 to finish this program – I don’t have enough time” – lesson #1 self-doubt will be your downfall.

Despite the inherent self-doubt I’d subjected myself to, I decided to start with the things I knew I could access straight away – colloquia. And before I knew it, the semester was almost finished and I had already smashed out 4 sessions – this wasn’t looking so bad after all! Before the year had ended, and in consultation with my GLP advisor, I had done most of my colloquia requirements, had a better understanding of where my interests were heading within the program, and felt that I was ready to start challenging myself with acquiring experiential credit. In terms of experiential credit, I knew I needed to go with the things that interested me, otherwise I wouldn’t enjoy what I was doing, nor would I do good at it – lesson #2 don’t go with the flow, go with what interests you.

My first break with experiential credit came in 2016 through PACE International, I was at a stage in my degree where I needed to complete my Social Science PACE unit, and I decided to suss out my options. After speaking to friends and colleagues about PACE, the idea of doing my internship overseas was proposed to me, and before I knew it, I had thrown myself into the unknown and was offered an internship with PACOS Trust Borneo, where I worked on a comparative analysis of how proposed Government infrastructure was going to have an adverse impact on the lives of Indigenous people living in Ulu Papar region. This experience, to date, was life changing and ignited the fire to continue to put myself out there and to continue on a path of global citizenship – lesson #3 you may be scared of the unknown, but do it anyway.

Moving on from my PACE International experience, I returned to Australia, and I hit the ground running. I continued to volunteer in my local Community Legal Centre, I started writing for ‘The Brief’ a Macquarie University Law Society publication, I became a Mentor for Macquarie, I started to attend seminars, and Foreign Affairs Series and then I decided to challenge myself by applying to undertake a short-term exchange for law, at the University of Vienna. And before I knew it, I would be on my way to Vienna to study topics relating to International Criminal Law, Special Issues in International Law and International Human Rights Law. This exchange experience taught me a lot about myself, and what I thought I knew about the world, and also heightened my interest in international affairs. Thanks to my exchange, I returned to Australia and decided to continue on the path of immersing myself in international law issues and took up subjects relating to international humanitarian law and human rights law – lesson #4 let your passion drive you.

Coming to the end of my GLP program, I decided to do what I now know best, and that was to challenge myself. This time, I decided to take a chance, in one last strive for experiential credit I applied to attend the GLP Canberra Symposium and another PACE International internship with Restless Development, Nepal, where I would be looking into issues of Gender Based Violence and Child Marriage. And low and behold it would be these experiences that would tie it all together, the GLP, my degree, my experience volunteering within the Community Legal sector, my passion for social justice and women’s rights.

For me, the GLP has given me a lot more than mere colloquia and experiential credit, it has provided me with a platform to challenge myself in everything that I do. The GLP has encouraged me to step outside of the comfort zones I had assigned myself, and to find meaning in my experiences in order to learn from them. The GLP has also taught me the power of adversity, the power of leadership, the significance of my voice, and has encouraged me to demand to be heard. But most importantly, the GLP has shown me that we’re all capable, we all have a role to play, and we all have a purpose. So my advice to you, is to believe in yourself, and learn from your experiences, for you hold the power to choose where you go from here, and if I can do it, so can you.

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