For me, this summer was all about making the most of my time and enjoying the company of my friends and family before starting my first year of university. University is something I had always thought of myself doing right out of high school. I worked hard and got involved and for me, that’s where I could create a future for myself. Only recently I had become more aware of the other options out there and that there really is no need to jump into another full-time institution so I went back to my high school to do a few more things. I had decided to spread out after graduating and spent the last year working on those endeavors. I learned a bit about failure, relationships, rejection (from people and jobs and almost a university) and more about myself and how I really don’t know where life will take me. Instead of clarity I got more questions but increased opportunities and experience.
This summer though I did know I needed to get a job, I also knew I wanted to have fun. Fortunately, Youngleaders.World, who I’d been volunteering with for the past year, got the opportunity to have 2 summer students and I got one of the positions. (I realize finding employment can be quite the struggle so honestly, I got pretty lucky.) This opportunity meant working in a co-working space with another 40 businesses in my city, which connected me to startups and lots of interesting people. Not only that, but I got to be self-motivated and work with others to make my ideas become clear and able to come to life. I had to learn to deal with lots of feedback but also gain a greater appreciation for working with others and brainstorming with them. This would not have happened if I didn’t spend the time I did in the last year as a volunteer and if I never stepped up to apply for the position so I’m certainly glad I did.
Working almost full time, although a good experience, takes time so I still had to make sure I got to complete my summer bucket list. To have some fun, I made goals to meet up with friends, take advantage of festivals around my city by setting a date and trying to organize it so if anyone canceled I could still go alone and have a good time. This is the way I made time for myself and took care of my mental health, along with taking action and getting the therapy I needed by finally going to talk with my doctor to get some support during a challenging emotional time.
Between work, a social life and taking care of myself more, I had a pretty busy summer. I may not have gone on any extravagant vacations but had small adventures right here in my own city that got me a bit of spending money, time with people I cared about, and opportunity to try new things locally. It meant learning more about myself, developing skills in work and to deal with some anxiety I experience. The work I was doing with YoungLeaders.World has been to help create something bigger than myself which will hopefully serve to inspire others to take ownership in their own life and work for both personal growth and collective good. Now I finally am going to start university still not fully knowing where it will take me and that’s okay. I will begin a new journey, with more goals, challenges, and opportunities to get involved as well as grow in my understandings of myself and of the world.
by Alycia Stewart