Student Voices: Community, Positivity and Self | Work of Arts
Student Voices: Community, Positivity and Self | Work of Arts

Student Voices: Community, Positivity and Self

Student Collins Maina, the lead of the Arts Leadership Cohort in Lister Centre, shares why engagement and positive thinking can lead to success.

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.

Inspiring 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.

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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

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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.

Footnotes:

For more information on the Arts Leadership Cohort Floor, visit http://www.foa.ualberta.ca/Undergraduate_Programs/Arts%20Leadership%20Cohort%20Floor.aspx


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About Collins Maina

Collins Maina

Collins Maina is the cohort leader/ programmer on the Arts Leadership Cohort in the Lister Centre residence. He is currently undertaking his double major undergraduate degree in Economics and Political Science. Collins lived on the cohort last year, which is what inspired him to take the lead and become the programmer on the floor this year. He gained a lot of valuable experiences and lessons through his involvement, something he is sure will be strongly present this year too, and he would like to share these experiences as his journey on this specialty floor carries on. Collins is a firm believer that everyone has a story worth listening to and that life is a series of challenges that we choose to grow from or not. He chooses to grow; thus he looks forward to the upcoming year where he will be working with and studying in the Faculty of Arts.