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" We all experience failure. However, we can take it two ways: being resilient by looking ahead or surrendering to your overwhelming thoughts."  - Melissa Woo, a new member of AIESEC UBC Marketing and Communication Portfolio

Western Regional Conference (WRC) was my very first conference and I was completely terrified. It was the first time that I travelled without my family and going on a trip with an organization I joined just two weeks ago. On top of that, the fear of embarrassment and meeting about a hundred new faces from different regions of Canada made me extremely anxious.

However, I can honestly say that my three days at WRC was one of the best experiences of my life: not only was I introduced to the AIESEC culture but I was also inspired by all the people I spoke with. The fear of meeting new people disappeared because every single person that I talked to was just as welcoming and friendly as the first. Also, the fact that everyone would shamelessly dance at the beginning of every session really brought a welcoming environment because we were able to communicate and bond without words. Personally, I have a very energetic and bubbly personality and it was amazing to see everyone participating and feeding off of each other’s spirit and energy. This enthusiasm created a lively atmosphere that put me at ease with all the unfamiliar faces that surrounded me. It confirmed that each individual chose to come to this conference for their own reason.

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Going to the workshops such as Teamwork and Communications was very helpful because I was able to fully understand simple skills that were once hard to comprehend. During these workshops, I wasn’t alone in any given moment; members from every committee were constantly encouraging me and cheering me on.

One thing that I learned during the “Next Level Impact” keynote was having a growth mind set rather than a fixed mind set. A growth mind set is the vulnerability of accepting criticism and being resilient to failure compared to a fixed mind set which is being comfortable and reluctant to what we already know of ourselves. I plan to take what I’ve learned to both my AIESEC local committee and my portfolio.

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I think that one moment I will remember for the rest of my life is during the Closing Plenary on the last day of the conference. We were reminded that we often tend to forget to appreciate and thank those around us. So at the end of the session, we were told to get up and express our appreciation for someone in the room who has really impacted our lives or helped us one way or another. I am really thankful for my family, but particularly my brother. Throughout the countless times that I’ve experienced failure in high school and the beginning of my university life, he has always been there. My brother always has a positive attitude and continues to inspire me by giving me encouragement and cheering me up. Whenever I was in doubt, my brother would have full confidence in me, which motivates me to keep going. I can always rely on him to cover for me and I know that he will always believe in me 100% whether I fail or succeed.

On the night of the last day, we were allowed to write sugar cubes, which are small messages you can write to the delegates from the conference. While writing these messages, I realized that I was able to step outside of my comfort zone and make new friends even when I thought I would never have the confidence to do. It was truly heart-warming to read the messages I received because even though I was only there for three days I really felt a part of the AIESEC family.

Overall, my time at WRC was an experience I’ll never forget; if I could, I would relive the whole experience again. I honestly can’t wait for our next conference, National Congress. I encourage all the newbies or members who haven’t gone to a conference before to try attending one. I was able to build friendships, step outside of my comfort zone, and see myself in a new perspective. I’m excited to continue my AIESEC journey and find my true AIESEC why. Moreover, I am thrilled to be working with the Marcom group and am looking forward to getting to know each of the members in the local committee this year!

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