David Matthew Ilag
You Spent the Year Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone - What’s next?
Updated: May 8, 2022
The mid-Academic Year season is a time where we find ourselves at what pilots would call a cruising altitude - after the climbing is done with the help of engine power at full thrust, the aircraft lifts itself off the ground, propels itself past the turbulence, and as it breaks through the clouds, passengers can see the top of the world. In the first semester of another school year, we have all hustled in our ways, whether that be in academics, extracurriculars, internships, or personal growth. Last academic year was the first time in my life to be intentional in developing my interpersonal and extracurricular self while holding great priority to my academics. As I learned that I could not only balance everything but more importantly, thrive as a holistic person, a question popped in my head: What happens next?
Drawing Your Roadmap
In this day where there are many options one can pursue moving forward, the discernment process alone could be extremely overwhelming to the point that one could be frightened to move forward. Or for people like me who broke out of their shells while not forgetting their priorities and values, the next step could weigh so much with the expectation to exceed your previous step of growth. Let me take you through different steps you could leap toward in continuing your college journey as a well-rounded, even better person!
Of course, commitment to a position starts with deliberate steps to discern and learn more. Regardless of the role you are contemplating on taking on - whether Project Head or an Executive Board position - the journey always importantly begins with discernment. Sometimes, it can be as simple as talking with friends who are pursuing such journeys and/or those who are in the same lane as you. Investing in your why is very important as leadership calls for you to go beyond mere desire and cling on to that passion toward boundless service. Speaking of taking the step toward boundless service, it was not too long ago that ACTM held LEAP 2122: Boundless, its flagship event aimed to cultivate leaders among its members. Taking part as a facilitator for the first time, it was inspiring to be on the other end and see how members made the most of the program’s initiatives! Shoutout to my cluster, NICK4E!
Running for Organization Positions
Organization positions may be one of the most intimidating decisions to make in the extracurricular realm of things. While the experiences of some may have pushed them to take the courageous leap toward big positions faster than expected, there have been those as well who intently took each step and maximized these learning opportunities.
Associate Vice President for Social Media Management Mika Llave reflects on her wonderful experiences of being Prepcourse 2021: Lakbay Project Head and working in projects as a Social Media Manager before becoming an AVP. “Entering the role as a Project Head for the first online event of ACTM scared me when I got the opportunity because I was not the most org active nor outgoing individual but knowing that I had my co-project heads with me and a supportive ACTM community turned my fear into excitement. Learning about ACTM and its processes entailed meeting so many new people, interacting with them on a more personal level, and most especially putting myself out there — the introvert in me never thought I’d enjoy the experience so much! I found a home. After Prepcourse 2021 ended, I realized how much impact the project created on members and allow them to grow, it made me want to reach out to ACTM even further and make a lasting impact. Initially, I never planned to apply as a Project Head, more so to run for an AVP position though seeing how much growth and passion the EC had throughout the year made me want to give it a go! In reality, you never lose an opportunity, you constantly grow and learn from it. Very thankfully, I was trusted to help lead the Information Management Department! As the position began to sink in, I would always ask myself if I made the right decision, was I even ready for the commitment and competent enough? Doubts kept coming but one thing that kept me going was knowing that if I were able to impact one’s life positively and help them grow, that is enough. Do we go this far just to go this far? We are surely made for something greater; it is just a matter of being intentional to take the first step."
When asked about what motivated her to always keep such a mindset, she expressed that it was “Knowing that there is always so much room for growth and creating endless impact through the experience. We never know everything; we just keep learning, growing, and become better people from each experience! It is never easy but will be totally worth it!”
Another path would be toward taking internships – the online setting and introduction of asynchronous approaches to classes have made it more appealing to take on internship opportunities. For first-timers, however, they may have many apprehensions, but no worries! Discernment is just as important here. While the offers of multinational companies and the pressuring hustle culture may pressure you toward signing up for an internship the soonest possible, it’s just as important to go back to your why. It may be the most overused statement in such decisions, but it proved to be extremely valuable for me as I went through different potential opportunities. After months and months of waiting, weighing options, and getting over self-doubt, an opportunity opened for a company and industry I have always been passionate about for as long as I can remember! Given the many factors one must consider (such as the hours of work demanded, your current academic load, etc.), it is always best to talk about it first with others to make a well-informed decision.
Sometimes, the hardest decision can be recognizing how overworked we are and how we could greatly benefit from taking a step back from the usual ways of life or the “supposed” growth trajectory we found ourselves in. The “rural” life, as we call it, has different meanings for each batch- for the seniors it could mean taking a step back from orgs and using that time to simply enjoy their remaining days in college. For org officers, it could mean returning to being a regular member the following year. Regardless of what you make of it, rest is important to clear the mind and your vision toward your goals. Taking a step back does not mean losing touch with who you are and what you do- always keep in touch with your friends and rely on them for support in the same way they do to you!
You are in Control
Whatever you choose among these options and anything else you can think of, what remains is that you are in control of your life. Your intentionality determines the impact each choice will make regardless of how minor or major you perceive it to be. Now that you have come so far from who you were at the beginning, keep pushing yourself to be even better! Your focus should not be on making your growth linear but rather keeping it sustained. Reflecting on her college experience, Modern Family character Alex Dunphy said in S10E19, ”It's Prank Week, and I spent the whole time in the library. Sometimes I feel like I just went through the four best years of my life, only, I forgot to make them the four best years of my life.” I couldn’t help but relate so much to her that this stuck with me right after hearing it for the first time! From staying locked in Rizal Lib for most of my freshman year to making a huge impact on the ACTM community, I cannot believe how far I have come from who I once was. And if then-shy me could do it, you could definitely do it as well! Keep your why close to your heart to take new steps with confidence in these short yet memorable four years of college life!