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AIESEC: A Platform for Keen Beans

How do people already know each other?

What clubs should I join?

Why does everyone seem like they already know so much?

As a ‘keen bean’ these were just some of the hundreds of questions going through my mind in my first year of university. I was determined to take every opportunity I could to make the most out of my university experience.

Everyone had told me to not hold back and to embrace every opportunity that came my way. When I discovered AIESEC, I only later realised that it was a literal goldmine for new opportunities and growth.

With the correct mindset and hunger for growth, most AIESECers will experience a very steep increase to their learning curve during their first semester in AIESEC.

I believe this comes from a number of key learnings that AIESEC encourages, some of the key learnings I have have taken away are:

1. If you want to go fast - go alone, if you want to go far - go together

It’s one thing to experience growth yourself, but it’s a completely different feeling to be able to grow together with a group of like-minded and passionate people.

Together we hold hands and face the road full of challenges and obstacles ahead of us. The feeling of being in a wholesome bubble is surreal. To know that the people around you genuinely support you and want to see you succeed always fills me with a feeling of gratefulness that gives me the energy to want to be better and strive for more.

AIESEC is a family, every single person is unique and contributes to the organisation in their own special way. Every time I talk to a different person, I always find myself to be in awe of their stories and experiences.

One thing that all their stories have in common is that their successes did not come easily, many of them struggled with self-doubt.

Make lifelong friends

2. We all experience self-doubt

Self-doubt is something that hinders a lot of people from taking on new challenges, and as a result, a lot of people stay stagnant and stay within their comfort zones.

However, I am constantly inspired to embrace challenges and seek failure. For me, I’ve always thought self-doubt comes from worrying too much about what other people think. Especially in an unfamiliar environment with unfamiliar people, the idea of failing can be very daunting. Although the thoughts of others matter to a certain extent, too many of us base our existence around the expectations of other people. However, are you satisfied with yourself?

We doubt ourselves every day, but where does this doubt come from? Why do we doubt ourselves? Each and every one of us has a different story, we’re walking through this life unknowingly, what should we expect next? No one knows for sure. Doubt is what draws us back from walking forward, doubt is what grabs onto us and pulls us back instead of forward.

So how do we overcome this doubt?

What if what used to hold us back is now the driving force to what pushes us forward?

What if that doubt that used to pull us back is now driving us forward to do more?

“Turn your weaknesses into strengths, as well as embracing your strengths”

Take on new challenges

3. Embrace both your strengths and weaknesses

In today’s increasingly globalised world, we seem to hurry about our daily lives without any time or thought to look around us.

We hurry from one class to another, from school to home.

We forget to look around and enjoy our surroundings.

We forget to look at ourselves.

Not our reflection, how we look or what we wear, but what makes you, you?

What are three of your strengths and three of your weaknesses?

For me, for most of my life, I answered this question thoughtlessly, based off answers I had googled. However, after joining AIESEC I started to notice how everyone seemed to be so confident with their answers and that they all seemed to be genuinely unique to themselves. It intimidated me and made me really think about what my strengths and weaknesses were. I started asking people around me that I had worked with or knew me well and found that I began to discover things about myself I had never thought about before.

From this, as I felt I was becoming more self-aware I began to feel more confident with my capabilities and contributions. Self-awareness is a journey and not a destination, we are constantly changing, however by understanding this it encourages one of the most important concepts of self-development: growth mindset.

Push yourself out of your comfort zone on exchange

“Life is like a bicycle, to keep your balance, you must keep moving”

There are many different pathways ahead of us, you, yourself have the ability to choose a pathway that may be straightforward and easy, but you also have the ability to choose a pathway full of exciting challenges, one that will allow you to live to your maximum potential. Always remember to appreciate those who are by your side on your journey and live life without regrets.

Vilan Yang

Vilan is currently studying a double degree of International Security Studies and Politics/ Philosophy/ Economics at the Australian National University. She enjoys drinking excessive amounts of milk tea and collecting plushies. However, her favourite thing to do is surrounding herself with wholesome people and having a good laugh.