“Would you like to share your experience?”
I was approached a couple of months back by my once lecturer, Dr Nicole Chen back at the International Medical University (IMU). She invited me to share about what I do, and how is life like in the social sector, at Global Peace Foundation (Malaysia). Being a human-centered and passionate person herself, and someone who has been involved in the social sector, specially in the area of women empowerment, Dr Nicole wanted to open-up the minds of her psychology students to the possible journey in the social sector for a psychology graduate for those have the affinity towards it.
As much as I can be a shy person, I love stories and I love to tell stories, much more if it is that will enlighten people of something in some way. Why not, I thought.
Through the session with the students, I was presented an opportunity to primarily share the perspective of life as a youth, psychology graduate, working individual in the social sector. To shed a light to the psychology students of the possible path in the social sector, the pros and cons and so forth. This could help someone in some way, if not most or all. That was all that mattered.
When I was there, I had this funny feeling. Partial student, partial working and trainer mode. It was an unfamiliar feeling, yet manageable.
It was interesting to see the students from a speaker perspective, here to share all about me, what I do and what not while at the same time partially being able to put myself in the seat of the students, especially when I was literally in their seats, in that particular classroom. The familiarity assisted in the process.
THE SHARING SESSION
The room had around 30 students, of current undergraduates and graduating class. Some familiar faces, and one that I have gotten in touch with on Facebook, but was yet to meet till then. This was exciting.
Just to understand their motivation to be present, I ran a short exercise for them to share the reason they were there. Funny and bold, I thought when most of them had written that they were there because it was compulsory. On a brighter note, there were many that mentioned that they were there to hear what i have to share, learn something new, learn something out this session. That was good, I thought. Well, I had imposed no expectations, but to approach matters as organically possible due to a personally belief that change ripples organically through authentic interactions without ulterior motives. Of course, a spark of positive vibes is always sure to add the spice.
Sharing the perspective of life as a youth, psychology graduate, working individual in the social sector- great. The sharing session went on great, and one of the things I shared was about how the life in the social sector may or may not apply to one as a career. However, it is more to becoming involved in the social development in one way or another, is a way of life. For example, one can choose to pursue a different life path, but is still able to contribute to the development of social sector by volunteering and running a project.
At the end of the sharing, we had a 5 minutes session on discovering life purpose, inspired by Adam Leipzig! A personal favourite. Everyone had fun screaming out, or at least I assume that they were.
At the end of the entire session, I was bombarded with at least 6 questions, which was definitely a good sign. Everyone was learning something. Well, they were definitely paying attention. My favourite question was from Samantha, about how I manage my time. She understood that it is not going to be easy, and it is not, when the basic understanding and also which is the reality for most is that the life in the social sector can be of a more weight. Also, hearing about my priorities, which revolved around family, love, life and work, she wanted to understand how I was managing. I smiled inside-out when I received this question.
In brutal honesty, I answered.
You see, it is not easy and it can be. Interesting enough that I see myself moving from a phase of struggle, picking up pieces and breathing through my gills. I know, what gills?! From that, to a harmony.
I belief, that I have defined my priorities. Meaning, I know what matters and holds meaning to me- basically things that I have to have and defines me in some shreds if not all. Lining-up the priorities, I then moved to managing the priorities which was basically making time for things that matter, and no distractions at all.
To be able to practice. Not really tough though. Reason being, if you have come to realise, understand and have the immense desire to change your life for the better, with respect to your personal values, you will find a way to practice it. With more practice, you will eventually experience fluidity in the practice. With fluidity, will come success along the way. Harmony all the way.
I also explained to Samantha, and the rest of her friends how I am still learning, practicing currently of course. Having said that, we can always strive to improve.
By just immediately attending to that one question, I realised how much clearer it had become to me of what I am currently experiencing. The action of verbalising thoughts, actions and processes itself is a process of learning. It proves the power of words, the power of speech in affirming what you are from within into a stronger and a more forceful energy and emotion. This was my personal takeaway.
AND SOMETHING ELSE
Pic credit: Jon Fhat
Least did I expect to meet my batch mate, the incredibly purple Jon Fhat. It was an awkwardly amusing experience for the both us I believe. As it felt like, “Hey, we are back in the classroom.” Jon Fhat is a dramatically not your average Joe, and yes, he is in purple most of the times. He was even looking for a purple Mac cover when we were still doing our undergraduate course, I remember. It was nice to meet him. He came to give a session on life in Human Resource area in an organisation.
Other than Jon Fhat, I had a great time taking to a few people more, after the sharing session.
One junior, with whom I spoke to particularly was Arina. I had a great conversation with Arina whereby it revolved mostly around youth participation in social development. It was great to hear more of what she was involved in. Also, I had the opportunity to catch-up with fellow IMU Student Ambassador of the same batch, who has recently graduated, “congratulations, Dr Jie Chong”, and bumping into another junior, a super sweet and intelligent young girl, Jocelyn. To add to the productive day, I had the privilege of having a chat with Professor Ong Kok Hai, Director of the External Affairs of IMU.
I am coming to believe and see more and more how there is a piece of me in everyone and one of everyone in me.
I am just grateful that I have, all that I have in life, and have embarked on career path that is aligned with my life mission- life in the social development sector.
Hopefully the session was meaningful to the psychology junior students as well.