Earlier this week, I received an invitation from Persatuan Pelajar Indonesia (PPI) –– an Indonesian Students Society at my campus (IIUM, Malaysia), to become a speaker of a sharing session event titled “Producation”. The event will be held at IIUM this coming Friday, March 30.
The name “Producation” is an acronym for “Professional Education”. In a nutshell, it’s a sharing session to help improve participants’ understanding of professionalism. There will be four speakers for the event, each with different topic to share. The topic I’ll be sharing is titled “Finding Passion in University”. That’s it, finding your passion, while you’re in university –– of course, it’s not about whether you’re passionate with the university itself.
While waiting for the day of the event to come, I kind of thinking to prepare the things that I’d like to share by drafting it here and publishing it after the event. There’ll be only 15 minutes slot for each session; wouldn’t be nice if I missed a thing to share just because I didn’t prepare. I’m not calling myself professional, but I’ve around 5 years experience working with professionals –– mostly in IT companies, and I’d like to share what I’ve learnt from them. If you’re interested to the Google Slides used during the event (sharing session), you can find it at the end of this post.
Skolafund (https://skolafund.com) is a crowdfunding education focused on higher education. Think of it as kickstarter, gofundme, or launchgood, but for funding university tuition fee, research project, and other education-related. It started in 2015, four of us, and we were all still studying in our university –– two of us at National University of Singapore (NUS) and the other two (me and my friend) at International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM).
I’ve learnt a lot from my team. Importance of communication, commitment, etc. But what I’d like to share is what we’ve found and see as common students’ problem: communication. Since we deal with the students on daily basis (ie. vetting campaigns, answering queries, etc.) , we’d be credible enough to share a thing or two on this matter.
Common Problem: Communication
We can agree that a good intention, can be misinterpreted just because it’s not well-communicated (hence the term, miscommunication). At Skolafund, we’ve found so many students with appealing stories for their campaigns, with the purest of intentions, but not well-communicated. In this case, the writing communication. Put aside the logical flow of the writing and let’s get to the more obvious part: grammar. A campaign story might be appealing, but having too many grammatical errors will make the readers think that the campaign was not seriously created. And that can hurt Skolafund’s professional pride. We created the platform so people who want to donate can donate peacefully, without thinking whether the campaign is a scam or not. Thus, having low quality campaigns is not an option. It will simply hurt us.
2. Learning Process: The Loop
We’ve related the term “professionalism” in point 1: Skolafund. The word “professionalism” itself gives us cue that it must be related to profession. Reflecting on those times I’ve worked at Skolafund, and other times working with other people, I realized that there are still more to learn, which has changed my perspective on how I see teaching and learning activity in classroom.
Prior to this, I used to come to class, listen to the lecture, and I’ll get what I get, no complaints. Nothing to lose, because I didn’t have anything to look for at the first place. Things changed: the more I worked with those people, the more I know that there are still a lot of things to learn. During the works, I’ll put in mind the things that I doubted or simply didn’t know. Those things, those questions I’ve in mind, I’d bring it to class and ask it to the lecturer.
Now, I’ve better motive to come to class. I know what I’m looking for, because I took time to find what is it that I’m looking for. I’ve something to lose if I didn’t took the correct subject. I’ve created a loop that will keep me driven: learn - work - learn. And more importantly, I’ve found what I think as the joy of learning. That is, when you know what you want to look for, fight your way to find it, and you finally find it. You know, those “aha” moments.
3. Relate Yourself
To me, university life is one of those places where you can easily relate things to yourself. With the variety of subjects we take, assignments we have, places we visit, activities we join, etc., it’s almost unlikely that we can’t find anything related to ourselves. In university, anyone can try to become a good or bad listener through lectures. A student can explore what it takes to do a research by joining research group. People can assess if they’ve what it takes to be a team-player by doing group activities.
Stimulate yourself with activities you’ve in university. If you’re trying to find what’s your passion, or what you relate to; don’t just do it, bring your consciousness, and get enlightened.
I like to think of writing as an easy way to discover our passion. Choose one topic that you like to write. Start writing. Don’t bother with the end result of your writing. If you find yourself indulged and pleased during the process of writing that particular topic, then probably that topic is what you’re passionate about.
Still related to writing, there’s this website that provide examples and templates to help you start writing. Check the website and see for youself: writewellapp.com.
Lastly, while not everyone is a fan of writing in computer (typing), having ability to type fast can be extremely helpful in today’s world, where most things are digitalized. For this, you can check typing.com, a fun website for you to practice on your fast-typing skill.
Not everyone in university study what he/she genuinely want to study. Some became doctors because they want to please their parents, some took certain course because that’s the course offered by the scholarship, etc. Nothing’s wrong with that. But when someone does it out of thought that there’s no other option, that’s the problem. We can’t control what could happen to us at the moment, but we can control how we react.
Take a time for yourself, read your current situation and use it for your benefit: find what you can relate to yourself. Once you’ve your findings, go for it. If you find yourself fighting for it, that is, you might have found your passion.
Till next. See ya!