SEEES’19 — The Journey of a thousand miles and a million lessons.
I am writing this piece with so much joy and gratitude in my heart, mostly because this leadership thing was quite a hard nut to crack. But we pulled through, and it wasn’t even shabby at all, this administration did so well. I am super proud of the teams I worked with, it could never have been possible without them.
Why did I run for President? I’ve always been one to be very involved in causes, I am a firm believer in “the change we seek begins with us” and so I see volunteering as a means or a channel to create impact and drive change, no matter how little it may seem. In this particular case, I felt that there were certain things I could do better and I had identified some issues I knew I could help fix. I really didn’t have to run to get some of them done, but to be honest being President gave me a lot more access and the autonomy to design and execute plans as I wished. So yes! to autonomy.
From the get-go, I knew I needed a solid team to even get things running at all. Working with so many people taught me so many lessons about how to get people to do things, keep them motivated while also letting them have the liberty to carry out actions as they want as long as it was in line with the collective goal. One of the things that helped a lot was proper documentation and planning. I listed out all the focus areas, drafted the role description and requirements, put a google form together and then encouraged my classmates to apply. Of course, I collected ideas from them ahead of time and spoke to most of them personally about the roles I thought was a great fit for them. Why all this stress? you might be wondering. It was important for me to do this and put in the initial work because I wanted them to come into the role with the same energy. I really wanted to work with teams that could draft their own plans and execute them in accordance with the set goal. This made following up a lot easier and I believe this was one of the reasons we were able to achieve as much as we did (I mean, of course together we achieve more).
Then, we started putting our proposal together, for some reason this was a very daunting task. I guess because I really wanted the proposal to look serious and professional, I spent a lot of time drafting, reviewing the budget, collecting proposals from team heads, sending it out for review, collecting feedback, and more feedback and moreee feedbackkkk. At some point, I just figured I had done enough and that it was good enough. Working on the proposal really helped set a lot of things in perspective and we mostly prioritized things we already planned to do. And so first semester came.
The Programs and Events
Little did I know, what was about to hit me. The process involved in getting anything done, I have to confess was really frustrating. Getting students to fully participate in anything was a lot more frustrating and exhausting. If it involves any kind of payment, haqq haqqq haqqqq, just say no more. The structure of the system doesn’t conveniently fit in extra-curricular activities, so naturally, a lot of students find it very hard, for some almost impossible to make out time for anything outside classes and practicals. In the face of all these challenges, we still carried out the following programs and events alongside some key activities:
- The Freshers Welcome
- Electrical drafting and design workshop
- The Mentorship program
- IT Presentation and Technical paper writing workshop
- The Liter of Light workshop
- Website launch
- Purchased New Jerseys
- SEEES Cup
In the second semester:
- Industrial Tour
- SEEES Olympics
- SEEES Week
– Novelty Match
-SEEES Career Day / IEEE SPAC
Executing all these activities involved a lot of letters, a lot of signatures, a lot of begging, sleepless nights, follow up, energy, money, pain, anger, disappointments, mistakes, etc. The list honestly goes on and on. Some things the organization lack, particularly made it harder to carry out events. For example, having to rent a generator, buy fuel, rent a projector, rent a projector screen and then rent a Public Address System always made it a lot more stressful to put events together and shot up our expenses. I am honestly hoping that we experience more support, one enough to donate some of these pieces of equipment to the association. Subsequently, executives can spend more time making events more impactful, put better material together and experience less burn out periods.
I worked with my classmates who served as the functional heads of various committees, the first-semester executives and then the second-semester executives. Making 3 different sets of people.
The biggest challenge at first was that communication and action seemed parallel. I would expect that once a meeting is over, everyone gets to work. But that wasn’t always the case. I constantly had to follow up some people some more, some people required no follow up at all, for some I eventually just reassigned the task or just did it myself. This helped me learn certain things, the earlier you understand how your team members function the sooner you’ll get results, understanding individuals is key in assigning roles. Some people honestly just don’t have the capacity to do some things, and you’ll never know because they will never admit until you confront them. I personally think this isn’t the best way to go as a teammate if you are assigned something you can’t handle, speak up, seek help and if its something you have time to learn, learn it. We are all constantly learning.
Oh, I have to specifically give a major shout out to team members that had the energy of ten people in one. The very passionate, optimistic and ambitious ones. They often go out of their way to get things done and often take on the responsibilities of others. This attitude was very encouraging at times when I felt burnt out or like I wasn’t gaining enough traction. However, this same set of people are often left unsatisfied even when we’ve ticked off all project requirements. They want to do more, personally I like a “can-do” spirit but sometimes it’s just enough. Like, you’ve done enough let’s take a break 😃. PS: If you are reading this you know yourself, and its all love 😁😁😁.
We don’t quit, we don’t cower, we don’t run. We endure and conquer.