Avtor: Tanja Golčman, member of Zavod Ypsilon and atendee of "International Business Summer School Ljubljana 2016"
I signed up for International Summer School in Ljubljana organised by Zavod Ypsilon in July 2016. I had no idea who they were or what I was getting myself into. At this point I’d like to say big thank you to Steklarna Hrastnik and PBC1860 for this opportunity! I’m studying business but I haven't got that many experiences so this seemed like a good place to start. Did I know I was signing up for 2 weeks of intense program full of lectures by all kinds of people? Sort of? Not just Slovenes but also Americans – all sharing their knowledge, their life stories, and motivating us. Was it just business? No, we were learning about the internet of things (IoT), smart fuses, and electricity; about cars and electrical charging stations. There were lessons about social aikido (NLP), virtual reality, and start-ups. And I’m pretty sure I missed a couple. Now we get to the crazy part – preparing a marketing strategy for a car/watch/running shoes in 20 mins and then presenting it with minimal PowerPoint and no reading. Or having 1 hour to make research about existing smart fuses and finding ways to upgrade it (Say what? What do you mean upgrade – I don't even know what it is!?) and presenting it again. Whom to? Well, just »some« representatives from companies like Kolektor, SAP, BTC ... pfff piece of cake, right? Errr NOT!?! It usually takes days to do it for your school presentation; you don’t do it in 5 minutes and then present it to people just like that! It’s actually amazing what you can do with limited time to do a research and presentation, and then talk about it (and do it like a boss!). I don't think we were capable of that when we started; many of us started our personal pitches with »I don't like public speaking« on our first day – you should have seen us on our last!
Anyway, have you ever needed to go somewhere but you were supposed to go alone and you didn't know anyone? Well, I'm usually a party pooper and I'm scared of going to events alone because there's always that »What if no-one wants to talk to me?« or »Do I need to talk to people?!« (Introverts unite!) I actually almost cancelled the summer school. I just turned 27, I’m still studying, and I’m back living with my parents. Many of my friends are currently unemployed and unhappy with the situation and you just feel lost in the midst of that. So what was I going to do at this business summer school – all these people probably have it all figured out! Back to the original story, IBSS wasn’t just about the lectures it was about the people I got to meet. People from all over. Different characters and mindsets. Not at all from similar professions. Do they have their lives figured out? Some basically blow you away with their experiences at 21. And others look like they have it all figured out but are just as confused as you are. And when you talk to them, all have one thing in common – all feel lost from time to time. No-one is a Superman or Wonder Woman. And suddenly you don’t feel like “social trash” anymore. All it matters is that you want to be there and learn something new; that you’re trying to improve yourself and trying to make a change! Was it just rainbows and flowers? No, you do step on people’s toes from time to time. Not eating regularly or enough – imagine the crankiness! You can forget about your beauty sleep because if the formal part ends at 8PM, you still haven’t finished your other tasks. It was hard to change groups and work with 3 different people every single day, change roles, and learn their ways. But everyone has so much to share if you just listen and observe! People will challenge you and get you out of your comfort zone (way out!) but you’ll discover a lot about yourself and get a chance to grow!
I’m sure you’ve thought you knew better than someone about something and didn’t want to listen to them? Been there, done that. The thing is that that person has a story and, based on it, a different opinion and when you listen to him/her and maybe transform your idea or join both ideas, you have millions of new possibilities! By yourself, it’s just you and your sole opinion or two. And then there are moments of self-doubt and low-energy … and someone else bringing you coffee or pancakes, telling you “you’re awesome”, “we can do this” or just offering a smile or a hug is SO much more powerful than your own motivation! And you probably know that U2 song »Sometimes you can't make it on your own« - it can be so much easier and much more fun when you’re surrounded with likeminded and supporting people. It’s not easy but it’s worth it.
That’s what IBSS was for me – two weeks of intense schedule filled with lectures, lecturers, coffee, support, kindness, diversity, energy, new knowledge etc. I left it with a bunch of new friends, hope, motivation, and I changed. I still don’t have my life figured out yet but I’m getting there. The problem is that you can’t see what’s going on behind the scenes – you only get to see the results, however, from the 2 weeks I’ve spent there, I’m truly amazed by the work that people at organisations like Zavod Ypsilon and their members are doing to help young people, trying to make an impact, and leave the world a better place. Kudos for that! And honestly, the possibilities that we have as individuals but are not aware of (!!) actually freak me out! Thank you for being there.
But yeah, if you feel comfortable where you are right now and don’t feel the need to get off your throne, to meet awesome people, to challenge yourself and improve … don’t sign up. Leave your place to someone who’ll get the most out of it and will try to make a change!
If life is like a bus ride and IBSS was the relation between two stops – thanks to everyone I got to share the ride with, you made it so much more special! I look forward to meeting you at a different stop and wish you all well until then!