Isn't it time to say yes to more experiences?


I’m graduating in less than two months. I didn’t see this one coming. Obviously, I am aware of the fact that time was limited to begin with but, somehow, I’ve gotten used to studying. That’s what I do. That’s all I’ve been doing since I was seven. Well, not really. In the last couple of years I’ve been saying “yes” a lot.

The other day I was looking at some of my colleagues, trying to figure out how they manage to be so stressed and bothered by a couple of exams. All of their worries were concentrating towards knowing the inside out of a subject, after a year or, better said, four years of doing just that: going to some classes and taking exams. Nothing more than what was asked of them, nothing extra-curricular or even for a personal passion, just going to the university and complaining about the hours, the professors, grades, exams. Sometimes they wouldn’t even attend classes. Boring. What they had in common is that they said “no” a lot.

I’m not going to act like I’m better than them or superior in any way. I’m just going to talk about these last years from my perspective. Of course I also went to classes, maybe even more often than they did, I took exams and yes, I also stressed about grades and my future. But I said “yes” a lot.

I said “yes” to, not one, but two student organizations, one of which became my second family – AIESEC. Not because I think it would look irresistible in my CV, but because I saw an opportunity to learn more and do more, and I took it. I said “yes” to four years of volunteering summing up two projects, one year as a team manager with a team of over 20 people, learning another field of work, different from my study field, 15 conferences and people. Amazing people, mentors, friends, people I look up to, whom I can always invite for a coffee and maybe even discuss job offers with. I said “yes” while having the same 24 hours in a day, the same curriculum, the same responsibilities and exams to pass. The paradox is that, as my volunteering workload started to build-up, my grades were spiking, until I had a merit scholarship.

Who I am today is the sum of the “yeses” I said to all the amazing opportunities that life just threw at me. They didn’t come with success and recognition from the start; don’t get me wrong, I still had to work a lot, stress, cry, invest in people and in projects , but I did my best. So that I could learn more and be more. Half of the time I was scared to even open my mouth, in case a “yes” would just pop-out and I would wake up with even more responsibilities. I later learned that fear is a good incentive, but it’s a feeling that could paralyze me into stagnating.

It doesn’t make me smarter than other students. Nor more organized, talented or lucky. It makes me a “yes” student and a “yes” person.

My latest “yes” is the biggest gamble I ever took. I am part of a team of 80 young individuals from more than 25 different countries, in charge of organizing the 65th AIESEC International Congress in Egypt. Yes, Egypt, a place I only ever dreamt of going to, the cradle of all civilizations, in the heart of the Arab world. I was terrified of applying for this position, but I wanted to try such an experience because I knew it was going to be life-changing. 1,000 young people from 113 countries, under one roof, in a 10-day congress, discussing leadership, innovation, sustainability and global responsibility with top management representatives from companies and entrepreneurs. I said “yes” to the opportunity of a lifetime, to an event that will make Egypt my home for two months, in a family of young people, like me, from all over the world.

So say “yes” ! Go see the world, get out of the classroom and volunteer, design projects of your own, take chances! For you, not for your resume, for employability or because other people are doing it. Do it because you want to be better, you want to learn more and I promise you, proactive and passionate young people are recognized by business and communities, and if they say “yes” to the right opportunities they’ll also have the job that every student seems to desperately desire.

AIESEC is the largest student-run organization in the world. AIESEC provides students and recent graduates the platform for leadership and business skills development while facilitating a Global internship programmed in over 113 countries.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Fans take a selfie with Ed Miliband in Kempston, near Bedford, on Tuesday
election 2015
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Guru Careers: Graduate Media Assistant

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an ambitious and adaptable...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power