We are young, therefore most people don’t expect us to do important things.
This is the unpleasant truth that we don’t usually think about, or might not even be aware of most of the time. People not having high expectation of us makes things a lot easier but at the same time it makes us not expect much from ourselves neither. We are happy in our little bubble, satisfied if we do our exams before the summer starts and we have enough time to do a summer job and go someplace new. The stereotype about student years says that these are the best years in one’s life. You are considered to be young and free, with all of your life still ahead of you and you have all the opportunities in the world while your fate is still yet to be determined. You are allowed to make failures and mistakes because you are still in the process of gaining experiences and therefore it is understandable to do stupid things at times. In general you have a lot of energy to party and all that is expected of you is to finish your school year.
Still, as our experiences show us, things are not so simple. Many young people have problems with school which often results in an overwhelming feeling of a lack of time to do anything else in life, they don’t take time for their hobbies and little joys like traveling, meeting new people, doing sports or whatever makes them happy. In my opinion, however, the real reason why many young people have such a hard time finishing their studies lies in motivation. Financial and social stability is a big problem here. Many people go to study something which feels “safe” and even though they might not have an interest in that particular area they do it just to secure a job in the future. Of course it is hard to finish something you don’t feel interested in. And people who are studying something they are interested in are often scared of what will happen when they’ll finish their studies.
In times like these, apathy can easily occure. As I have mentioned above, due to problems with their studies many students put off their other interests or abandon them completely. But how does that effect our motivation?
I am sure that we can all think of a certain experience from our past when we did some unpleasant job quickly just because we had something nicer to do afterwards and we didn’t want to miss it. Why? Because we had the motivation to do it. So, if your life seems kind of vacant right now and you’re feeling that things aren’t going according to plan, maybe it is not because you are giving too little effort and time in things needed to be done. Maybe you just need more positive things, more experiences and more pleasant activities that will restore balance in your life. You will always have things needed to be done but if you don’t have something that pushes you forward, if your only motivation is not to fail in something and you are not really enjoying what do, you will have trouble accomplishing anything at all.
Some people find their motivation, peace and meaning in sports, some in acting while others find it in dancing or playing an instrument. I have always liked to read, therefore it was only natural for me to start writing, and because I like to make up stories with fictional characters in fantasy worlds I, ever since I can remember, have wanted to draw a picture of what was going on in my mind. Before I could read, I wanted to become a painter, but just before going to primary school I learned how to read and decided I will be a writer, a decision that has stuck with me ever since. This motivation led to my book being published while I was still in high school. This was a big encouragement for me and made me realize that I have potential. Nowadays I study Art History and Slovene, areas connected with my interests, but if I wouldn’t write and draw at home, I would probably be feeling like something is missing.
So, one can say that I found my talent, therefore I shouldn’t feel any lack of motivation in my life. But for the past year I felt like something was missing. I needed more. I needed more experiences in my life, more connections with new people, more positive energy. Let’s face it, writing, drawing, reading, those are all wonderful ways that brings us a peace of mind but they are all solo activities which you can spend hours doing without talking to anyone. I needed something organized, something that included a large group of people. Since I was never interested in sports and didn’t know exactly what I was looking for, I felt quite lost for some time. But then, a friend of mine mentioned AIESEC to me. I heard him talking about it before, but with the last high school year wrapping up it was the first time he mentioned that AIESEC is an organization in which I could fit in and that it would be good for me to join.
At that point, I didn’t know much about AIESEC. I didn’t even know exactly what AIESEC is and what it does. But I trusted my friend and followed my philosophy stating that, when life gives you an opportunity, in most cases it is better for you to take it than leave it. You can never be completely sure about anything in this world and there will always be reasons to be scared and yes, sometimes life will bring you down. But if you are always too scared to try something new, life will not only bring you down – it will leave you behind.
I’ve been in AIESEC for about two months now and I can already see changes in my life and my attitude towards it. I have more motivation, I do my duties faster, I am more effective, more optimistic, more positive, and happier. I feel like I am doing something good and I like the structure, where I don’t feel alone but rather like I am a part of a large group of people that shares the same goals. I feel like together we are really making positive changes. And it is a great feeling when you can see results of your work and you can see that you are actually doing something good.
Therefore, I ask you, and please, answer my questions truthfully: Do you feel like you are doing your best? Are you using the full amount of your potentials? Do you feel like you need something more in your life? Are you satisfied with your accomplishments? Are you happy?
Finally, please, don’t ever think that you did everything that you can. There is always more that you can do. That is the meaning of life for me – stay active! There are so many ways to do it…
“If you are watching a truly happy man, you will see that he is building an arc, writing a symphony, teaching his son, …double dalies or in the desert of Gobi searching dinosaur’s eggs. You will not see him searching for luck as it would be a goal …”
– W. Beran Wolfe