By Kathy-May Sanayeh
I get bored easily. It’s quite the academic curse, really. For as long as I’ve been studying I always excelled at school in the first half of the year and crashed becoming, honestly, mediocre for the second half. I often found myself procrastinating on uni work as I don’t have the motivation to do assessments when all I wanted was to apply my knowledge practically in a real-world setting. I’m sure many of you feel the same way and, not to sound like a snake oil salesman, but have I got the cure-all for you.
I’m a very passionate and practical person, I find that I often thrive on just ‘doing’ something, anything really. I was so incredibly excited to start uni in 2018, fresh from the HSC I was looking forward to finally studying something I was interested in, something I could see myself working in. I was left fairly disappointed when I realised it was still all too theoretical. I always felt that there was something missing in my professional life which I believe carried on to my personal life.
By the start of my second year of uni, I felt unfulfilled and had happened to realise, I had no experiential points for the GLP. So I began browsing the Facebook page and reading the newsletters and that’s when I discovered the China Symposium. Being a travel lover, history dork and politics student the itinerary and promises of the Symposium piqued my interest. I applied, got rejected and waitlisted and much to my luck was called and offered a spot on the trip when someone had dropped out (sorry mate). I excitedly agreed and after prepping, packing and purchasing my ticket I was off to a foreign land with 14 strangers and not a single word of Mandarin in my brain, but gosh was I excited.
I can honestly say that the trip changed my life. It shaped me in a way I wouldn’t have thought a person could be in just 2 weeks. I learned so much about myself, my new friends, culture, politics and generally how the world works with and around me. I realised then that my love for practical application and for ‘doing something’ wasn’t because I was bored with academics, that I hated studying or listening to lectures, but rather that I thrived on learning from experiencing and applying.
I was honestly a miserable student pre-symposium, post-symposium however, I kept busy. I volunteered more, I attended the GLP innovation day, which taught me that my love for problem-solving was a valuable work asset. This inspired me to compete in the UNIVATIVE competition which centred around innovation and then led me to my current position with Peerlink and Enactus Macquarie. I hadn’t realised it along the way, but each experience was a stepping stone for my personal and professional growth.
I’m now in my fourth year of uni and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been while studying. I’m creating a program for mentoring, partnering with Local councils and High schools to uplift and inspire the next generation that actually uses my skills and aligns with my career aspirations. I am incredibly thankful for being able to participate in the experiences that I have. Each one opened the door to the next and gave me more insight and inspiration than the last.
Uni is not all about academia, it is so important to look past the lectures and the readings and see what opportunities it can offer you. Some may benefit you professionally, others personally but all can help you learn more about yourself and the world you are soon to be functioning professionally in. So that’s my cure-all, find something to do and meet people to do it with. It might just bring you closer to the things you already value and spark something new inside of you.