Reflecting back on my 5 years at Macquarie, I asked myself, why did I join the GLP? Entering university at age 17 was as the common saying goes: small fish, big pond. If I had to describe it, the transition was a turbulent mix of doubt and excitement, but mostly, fear of the unknown. While uncertain about what lied ahead with the GLP, I was certain about why I joined to begin with. In my first year at MQ, I made myself a personal commitment - to go beyond just being educated in the theory and practicum required by my specific profession. To follow that route would be easy, but hey, where is growth with just ‘easy’ right? Instead, I envisioned myself at the end of my degree lifting up that fancy graduation hat having evolved as a well-rounded individual, equipped with a transferable skillset to thrive in whichever profession I chose to enter. So, with the desire to be an engaged learner and a more informed global citizen, I entered the GLP with the readiness and drive to be challenged and transformed in the process. Delving more into my why, these are my 4 key reasons:
I wanted to be a part of a vibrant, diverse network of like-minded students and aspiring leaders
I wanted to develop that transferrable skillset – including cross-cultural understanding, civic responsibility and global leadership
I wanted to discover more about the world and my place in it
Overall, I wanted to learn what it means to think global, act local and start personal
As I approach the end of my degree, I can confidently say that my reasons for ‘why’ transformed into outcomes and these outcomes have transformed me as a person and more broadly as a global citizen. My vision of what I hoped to achieve by graduation day doesn’t seem so distant now and I owe this to the GLP - my golden ticket to get there.
A key part of this transformational journey has been the colloquia series - an opportunity to gain unmatched access to the knowledge and insight of expert conveners in the field. Through critical enquiry and intellectual exploration of diverse perspectives, I was able to take part in a rich dialogue about important global issues I had yet to explore.
Each colloquia brought with it new insights and sparked a desire in me to take things global. In 2016, I decided to take a chance and apply for the New Colombo Plan (NCP) Scholarship – a signature initiative of the Australian Government giving undergraduates the opportunity to live, study and intern in the Indo-pacific region.
With my luggage in one hand and NCP Scholarship certificate in the other, I set off to spend a year abroad immersing myself in Southeast Asia. From studying at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, ranked #1 in Asia, for a full academic year, to working on community development projects targeting the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of Good Health and Wellbeing and Quality Education across Southeast Asia - my lens of the world has widened and so has my worldview. In the process, my year abroad travelling became travelling with purpose.
My work over the year included delivering life skills and education training to at-risk children and youth in Vietnam and rural Cambodia, conducting psychological research at a rehabilitation centre for public health in Indonesia and providing educational, counselling and humanitarian support to vulnerable student communities in one of the most impoverished areas of the Philippines. Such experiences have left me with a growing desire to be part of the universal call to contribute, serve and forge a more just, peaceful, tolerant and inclusive world.
A particular ‘pinch me’ moment was sharing my story at the 8th University Scholars Leadership Symposium to an audience of UN Ambassadors and 907 delegates across 78 countries at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok, Thailand. This invaluable experience has led to my role as the 2018 Youth Advocate to the United Nations where I will be working on global youth development projects and conferences at the head office in Bangkok later this year.
Yes, still pinching myself… So back to where it all started – why start with ‘why’? Inspired by Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle Model, many of us find it easier to articulate ‘what’ we do or ‘how’ we do it but it’s much harder to express ‘why’ we do it in the first place. In other words, finding the words to express our purpose, cause or belief that inspires us to do what we do. The power of knowing your why sets you on a meaningful trajectory, it becomes your driving motivator that aligns your active pursuits with your long-term vision. It also helps to focus your efforts on what matters most, compelling you to take on challenges that will stretch you as much as they inspire you.
Let’s face it, it’s hard to maintain momentum if your direction lacks definition. So when you start your GLP with why, you give yourself the clarity and confidence to choose the trajectory of your GLP program that most inspires you. Your choices of what colloquia session to attend or experiential initiatives to immerse yourself in will be driven by what excites you and resonates most with your vision. After all, the purpose of the GLP is a GLP with purpose. So if you’ve just joined the GLP, half way through or even close to graduating, I encourage you to take a moment to discover or reconnect with your why and the rest will naturally follow.