Hong Kong here I come!

Friday April 4th 2014

Hi everyone,

It has been a fairly quiet month here in Belfast – Maybe I have remembered that I am actually a student and need to work most of the time!  Nevertheless, you know me, I’m always planning something. This semester is going a lot faster than expected; everyone said it would, but I don’t think I ever believed them. It’s crazy that when this is published, it will already be week 9 and I’ll be getting off on my Easter break at the end of the week to look forward to a lovely and enjoyable three weeks of revision. (Can you detect the sarcasm?)

In last month’s blog, I mentioned that I was making plans for the Summer, so I finally delivered on that by booking a holiday to Hong Kong! I’m leaving in the latter half of June and returning at the end of the month. I have always said that I wanted to travel, right from an early age, so I am happy that I’m finally starting to put those plans in action. Initially I was a bit hesitant, but then I thought, why not? Who knows will I ever be able to have this opportunity again? Isn’t that what the motto ‘Life Without Limits’ is all about?! So, my friend and I just decided to book it one rainy Wednesday afternoon – talk about an impulse purchase! I am really excited for a new cultural experience, and it will probably be my first holiday where there is either no family with me nor am I on a school trip.  My friend and I are going out to visit our friend who lives there, so it will be an experience to see how they live what with all their skyscrapers! I’ve included a photo below of us going to one of the more authentic Chinese eateries in Belfast for ‘Dim Sum’ to get accustomed to the type of food we’ll be eating. Suffice to say, I’m extremely excited!

01ff5397a6e7b49a80ad054e458a636257ec13fcb8

For a number of weeks now, I have been going to the Students’ Union every Monday for an event. A while back, I heard about an opportunity being offered by the Students’ Union and endorsed by the William J. Clinton Leadership Institute. The programme is called ‘Inspiring Leaders’ and is designed, as the name suggests, for people who are in positions of responsibility and leadership. I applied as I am Vice-Chairperson of QUB Michaela Foundation Society and fortunately, I was accepted! This is the first year of the programme, so it is something that I am very grateful to be a part of. Every week, we complete a ‘module’ (Not like the school and university modules, however, there’s no exam or anything!) but it has been interesting to experience something different every week. For example, the first week, I got the opportunity to learn what leadership means to different people: politicians, academics, charity workers and business entrepreneurs. I have a few weeks left on the course, but once I finish, I’ll be sure to let you know! Definitely something to stick on the CV and it’s also great fun too when you have a case of the ‘Monday Blues.’

Oh, how could I forget?! Earlier in March, Michaela Foundation held their first ever well being retreat in Sacred Heart College Omagh. I was extremely honoured to be asked to participate as a leader and it was fantastic to meet all the year 10s from the school. It felt great to be back once again in that school environment, and the fact that it was in Omagh and home land were just added bonuses!

 

1976944_595796660504880_1109221187_n

The full day focused on the issues of body image, confidence, self esteem, bullying and the importance of faith. Some things which we can all relate to on an almost daily basis. We demonstrated to the students ways of building your personality, not letting others negative insults affect you and allowing them to recognise how God has made us in our own individual way – (Not to mention the fun activities and ice-breakers we had. It’s a shock to the system when you have to ‘moo’ and herd up ‘cows’ – I think the less said on that the better!) All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable day. The feedback we received from the students was extremely enjoyable to read and definitely a great motivator for the day. It’s a true indication of the success of the day as there are extremely few events focused around this, despite how necessary and important it is for students at that age. I am hoping to see even bigger things for Michaela Foundation’s retreats in the near future!

(Oh, on a final note, thank goodness that our house for next year has finally been sorted – definitely one of the more stressful times of the year!)

Until next month,

Stephen