Student Voices is a WOA blog feature that presents the experiences and point of views of current arts students around campus. Get to know our creative and passionate students through their “voices” and get a snapshot of life as an arts undergrad. The views and opinions expressed within these student voices posts are solely those of the author.
University is a time for growth and development through justified questioning and self-exploration. It is also the birth place of life’s never ending race towards success.
Success is an interesting concept to think about because of its subjective nature. Some people think about it in terms of future wealth or riches, others are driven by the promise of a potentially fulfilling career (or multi-career). There’s also the more simplistic perception of success: personal goals, the acquisition of skills, and even the longing for family life. Regardless of your definition of success, it all boils down to goals and life philosophies, most of which have some similarities despite variations. Currently, my personal definition of success involves having a positive impact on the community.
In the words of Steve Maraboli (a behavioral scientist who specializes in motivational psychology), “Protect your enthusiasm from the negativity and fear of others. Never decide to do nothing just because you can only do little. Do what you can. You would be surprised at what ‘little’ acts have done for our world.”
Call it wishful thinking, but I believe that inspiring and driving for positive influence through social and community engagement is not only attainable but yields great results. From my past experiences with community volunteering and my current involvement as the new leader of the Arts Leadership Cohort, it is becoming increasingly evident to me by the day that engaging oneself in the community around you creates a collective mutual benefit—both on your part and the community’s part.
Community engagement in this sense is being able to make an impact on someone. It could be something as big as fundraising to support a charity, volunteering a set amount of hours with a local organization, or something as small as putting a smile on someone’s face for that day (or hopefully a lifetime) through a random act of kindness. The essence is to create a positive effect in your daily life in whatever way you can.
The outcomes of such actions, behavior or thinking, especially when paired with an element of reflection not only helps the “recipients,” but may result in greater team bonds, trust, relationships, communication and shared vision (when working with teams). It may also generate deeper, more intrinsic personal development. Ultimately, the induction of growth is seen through shifts in perspective and the broadening of one’s mindset.
Through this type of life philosophy I am beginning to see a shift—both in my energy and passion to get more involved. Impacting others has led to my personal development and contributes towards my ever-evolving personal meaning of success.
For more information on the Arts Leadership Cohort Floor, visit http://www.foa.ualberta.ca/Undergraduate_Programs/Arts%20Leadership%20Cohort%20Floor.aspx