Sitting in my hotel room now reflecting upon my recent sponsored trip with the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), many of emotions flows through my mind. I reflect upon the past four days in Sydney and everything that has happened that make my first conference and first trip with the IET so memorable. As my stay comes to an end, I would like to pen my thoughts to immortalise the emotions and memories from this trip.
First, I am so thankful that the IET has sponsored me this trip to the Student Recruitment and Retention Campaign (SRRC) Conference where I have the opportunity to reunite with old friends and meet new mates. Reuniting with friends from other networks around Australia and New Zealand makes me realised how fast time has elapsed. It felt like yesterday I have met these amazing people such as Stephanie, Harry, Moana and Yan in April this year. There is this strong sense of familiarity when I see these people again. I am happy to see and learn that they are still doing a great job in their local network and moreover, it just makes me happy to see them again. No word can explain the latter feeling, perhaps as you grow, you start to appreciate and cherish moments when you get to reconnect and reunite with friends again. One of the perks of these conferences is that you meet new mates too. During this conference, although over just a short period of time, I feel so comfortable around these new people and makes me gravitate towards them naturally. I find it sometimes strange that how some people can make such a strong impact in your life for such a short period of time.
In conjunction with the conference, it is also Present Around The World (PATW) Asia Pacific Final. Meeting up with William, our Australia representative makes me feel happy. As above, I just feel happy to see familiar faces. Happy to see them again, happy to know that they are doing fine and happy to know what they are up to lately. When I first ran into William, am I surprised when he still remembers my name despite we only met briefly in person during SRRC in April this year and exchanging couple of emails prior to this conference. By chance one day as I was walking along Coogee Beach taking the scenic route, I had a good chat with William and get to know him better. We had a good if not decent conversation and despite William’s multiple jokes about us trying to get him to join the cult, I feel like he will be a great asset to the IET local network, no matter which network he joins.
During this conference, I feel the constant pour of positive energy and enthusiasim from all the representatives from each local network. Feeling their passion and energy has inspired and motivated me a lot. We sat down, brainstormed ideas and ironed out a lot of issues the current Asia Pacific region is facing. I feel so proud to be part of this team that shares the same aspiration and goal as me. In a way, I feel like we are a family. There is such a strong connection between each other and in a way or another, we drive each other to strive to be a better person. On Saturday, our headquarter in the UK has commissioned us to shoot a video. Under the creative direction of Steph and I, we shot a video clips of us and all the reps present. One of the questions asked is “What does IET mean to you in one word?” As I ask myself the very same question, the first word that comes to my mind – FRIENDSHIP. In a strange way, spending less than 48 hours with this group of people makes me feel like I have a group of friends beyond my university circle of friend and beyond my friends from the WA local network. In many ways, I feel like we are each other support system that helps each other to rise above and beyond. I am now looking forward to see the final product of the promotional video.
As I pen this post now, whilst some of my friends have gone back home, I feel empty inside. For the past few days as I walked into the hotel, I have a sense of belonging and a sense of purpose. Sense of belonging, because I know this group of people whom I proudly called my friends are living with me under the same roof; sense of purpose, because I know I am attending a conference and doing something I enjoy. As the conference has wrapped up and as we all pack to go home, I feel like I am ready to go home too, surrounded with family and friends and back to work and studies.
This trip in many ways has helped me to discover a new place where I feel belonged apart from home and my group of university friends. I thoroughly enjoy working with this group of friends and I look forward to see them again in the conference next year. Despite the tight schedule and busy life we have back home, I feel so empowered and driven to be more efficient. As of this stage in my life, I have thesis to complete, unit to study and teach but perhaps my biggest takeaways from this trip is to produce a strategic guide for all other local networks on how to manage their social medias. I am proud of own achievement as my name has been circulated around the IET community and I look forward to produce this guide which will be shared across the whole Asia Pacific region, let’s not think global for now but one can always dream. Looking ahead, I know the next few months will be busy and insane. However, I know I have found the motivation to push through the hardship.
Once again, thank you IET for this memorable trip. I am so grateful for this trip that helped me to discover a new group of friends from around the world. And to all friends, till we meet again.