When you first arrive in London, everything is jaw dropping. Double-decker buses, shiny lights and flashy signs, bikers cycling, pedestrian buttons you press when you want to cross the street, parks, dog parks, all out vegetarian restaurants, the list goes on. The good part is, everything continues to be a jaw dropping- ok fine, perhaps you stop starring in awe every time you see a group of cyclists zoom by, but the good part is, you have the choice to become one of them. Before you know it, you become that cyclist, you become that vegetarian, and you become that park stroller. London is proactive. And best of all, it makes you proactive.
I have been here just over two months. I have never felt this responsible, mature, and capable of owning up to my life; 24 hours of the day are for me to explore, experiment, try new things, and challenge myself. I have currently made a choice to become a pescetarian ( a vegetarian that eats fish). Why? Simply put, why not? Why not try something new and see how your body reacts. Now I purchase free range eggs, and a whole lot of broccoli. I am a better informed consumer, better connected to my environment, to my body, and yes as cliched as it sounds, to my mind. It also makes for great discussion. My favorite is when people ask me “ooh but what about protein”? and I cheekily retort, “ ohh what about the bull”? (Bulls don’t eat meat!) Being proactive means persevering.
At SOAS ( School of Oriental and African Studies) I have become a member of two great societies. At the Krishna society we learn to cook yummy, vegetarian food. We also, meet up to discuss philosophical and spiritual issues. At the Rapid Arnis society ( Filipino offensive martial arts) we learn self defense. Two action packed hours of challenging one’s mental and physical abilities. The best part of these societies is the dedication and commitment it teaches you. When my body aches from one too many push up sand boxing exercises, I still push myself to go. When I just feel like eating out, I still push myself to go to the cooking workshops. Being proactive also means devotion.
Finally, I was elected to become student rep for my Violence, Conflict, and Development program. My job responsibilities are to improve the educational experiences for my fellow classmates by providing advice, relaying suggestions and comments to the department, attend faculty meetings, and organize social events. It has been a great opportunity to work on my communication and organizational skills, and it has been great to meet students from all walks of life. Being proactive also means being influential.
So the beginning of my Chevening scholarship has been nothing short of amazing. Whilst I can’t predict the future, I’m pretty confident, the whole ‘being proactive’ theme, persevering, being devoted, and influential, will shape my future, and develop into something very fruitful and promising.