While initially isolating from COVID-19 felt like the holiday many introverts have secretly dreamed of (if not for a global pandemic), very quickly my Netflix watch list emptied and I once again felt the urge to be out contributing to the world around me and developing those ever important skills necessary to secure graduate roles. I am certain I am not alone in feeling like this, particularly in a group of GLP students. Although many students I spoke to were discouraged at the thought that their volunteering roles or internships had been put on hold, I chose to take advantage of the extra time I found I had available to undertake some GLP activities.
While engaging in international activities has been temporarily restricted, the GLP team innovatively put together numerous programs relating to the other main program themes. The GLP’s Virtual Auburn Cultural Day (GL X33) transported me from my bedroom to a different cultural experience, within Sydney, that I had not experienced before. Through different iLearn modules, we explored the food, history, demographics (and more) of the area and gained a more diverse understanding of a suburb not too far from my own.
As a result of COVID-19, we have all had to make significant pioneering changes to the way we live, work and communicate, and that often involves more than simply picking a new restaurant to order dinner from on a Friday night after you’ve become sick of all your favourites. In this spirit, my focus for the Semester was on innovation and stepping outside my comfort zone, even while I could rarely step out my front door.
I participated in the GLP’s first Virtual Innovation Day (Credit Petition) where we learnt to think about innovation in a more holistic context, as it needs to form a fundamental element of an organisation in order to be truly encouraged. Through iLearn modules, Zoom sessions and online videos we learnt more about what it means to be innovative, as we discussed creative thinking, the trends in technology, capital raising and corporate innovation, all within 2 days while leaving time to do an online Amazing Race challenge about Start Up companies within Sydney.
The GLP team also recommended partaking in Ryde Council’s Young Changemakers series (Credit Petition), a three session online program where we heard interactive presentations from different experts in their fields about how to make meaningful, innovative change in our careers, community and more broadly in a civic sense as young, emerging leaders.
I competed in my first moot, the Macquarie University Law Society (MULS) Criminal Law Moot (GL X31) with a few of my friends which was run via Zoom. Even though we didn’t quite manage to make the semi-finals, we learnt lots of valuable legal research and communication skills which will help us in our classes now, and also in future work positions. As the MULS Secretary (GL X15), I was excited to participate in one of the competitions our executives innovatively put together. My leadership role largely involves completing the administrative requirements and the internal management of the society, which in response to COVID-19 required significant innovation from all of our executives to ensure our events and initiatives could go ahead as planned.
Finally, as all my travel plans had been halted, I competed in the Univative Sydney competition (GL X14) over the break – an intervarsity competition where student teams devise innovative solutions to real world problems posed by different host organisations. Our team’s project solution involved a multi-platform marketing campaign, something I had never undertaken before. The whole team developed greater skills in teamwork, project management, media production and problem solving as a result of participating and finished with a win!
In Semester 1, I completed 130 credit points worth of activities, putting me on track to complete at least the 200 credit points required for completion of this program within one year, despite being locked down for most of the Semester. I am hoping that despite the current limitations we are facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this post will inspire other GLP students to take advantage of the online opportunities available, to engage within our community and spend the time productively, developing themselves, so they are prepared for the world way beyond our front doors.
Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or want to hear more about getting involved in any of the activities I’ve mentioned.