Whoa! It’s been a crazy roller-coaster these past couple of weeks for me with conference after conference and a LOT of traveling involved. Time-zone changes and flight schedules have had me jetlagged and woozy and, trust me, do not rely on alcohol to make things even the slightest bit better. To all my fellow AtlasCorps fellows who have the opportunity to travel and attend conferences, here’s a big suggestion – TAKE IT!
I am currently nursing a sore throat and am underslept because I decided I wanted to be awake and running for all those great sessions I got to attend. From discussing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights with fellow youth advocates in Manila, to exploring privilege and dynamics that govern people of color like me, to attending sessions on how to deal with LGBTQ rights and issues at high school – all these sessions gave me a brilliant insight into understanding what all I wanted to learn from these conferences, and more.
Another word of advice – go beyond the conference schedule. Bump into people, strike up conversations, go out of your comfort level to start what might be a great networking opportunity. Mingle with the organizers, the speakers, the guests, the presenters, and the attendees alike. You won’t understand it today, but it all adds up to making us better people and giving us way more perspectives. And that’s what we are here for anyhow, right?
I reiterate that travel teaches you best, and it is in these conferences (whether it be during or after hours) that you get acquainted with some of the most amazing people you can ever meet. These chance meetings go beyond the purview of the conference schedule, and help you figure out how all of our stories, of all of us working in the non-profit sector, come together to conjure sparks in this old rusty machinery of today’s world policymaking.
Change your perspective, change the world!