"The secret is to be able to stay calm amidst the storm"

As I joined the LDI last year, I never once thought that it would be a turning point in my leadership journey.

It all started last summer. I was bored while scrolling through YouTube videos. I stumbled across an intriguing video. It was that of Dr Rinehart, the Director of the LDI talking about the LDI program. I was utterly surprised and impressed about his speech and the way he described the program. It got me really determined to join the LDI. I also took it as an opportunity for me to try something new, so I thought “why not?”. I had no clue on how it would turn out to be, yet I took the risk.

I was part of a 4-member team. We called ourselves Hays. After discussing for a while, we decided to work with the Azrou center, which is known to be the “social armour” of the university. We helped the people there with different activities such as organizing fundraising activities, women’s day and helping students who have dropped out of school to sit again for their examination.

Our project’s name was “Support Azrou Center in its Social Mission”. We aimed to help the Azrou center in its different activities to help the local community. It also tackled Sustainable Development Goal no. 4, Quality Education. The activities ranged from organizing tutoring sessions for students, product exhibitions, training for women’s associations to fundraising activities to support non privileged students to take French courses. In fact, the activity that was the most impactful and which I am very proud of is the fundraising for drop-out students to fund their exams. We organized two fundraising raising events during the year. Surprisingly, the money collected exceeded the amount we had initially targeted. This was enough to pay the fees for the French courses for 12 students. We used the rest of the money to help the Azrou center organizing the International Women’s day celebration and the last the closing ceremony.

I had the chance to experience a lot of new things and acquire different skills. One of the most important skills that I developed during the first year was communication skills. I learned that communication skill is such a very required skill to run any project. I can remember that we were always having some communication problems especially during our first semester. Sometimes we would agree about a specific time for our weekly meetings and we ended up having one or two members missing. At other times, when we agreed about a decision, we would never be on the same page thinking that we had understood each other. However, after the communication skills and conflict workshop presented by Dr Rinehart, numerous problems were fixed. We changed our strategies, and, in the end, we became very effective.

This was my first project ever. I felt that I have grown a lot, especially in terms of becoming a more responsible and accountable person. It wasn’t that hard for me to keep up with my studies and the project requirements since we tried as a team to apply all the skills that we have learnt in workshops such as planning, teamwork and time management. It has sometimes been challenging when urgent and unexpected things popped up. Yet we could deal with them as a team. The secret is to be able to stay calm amidst the storm. It was important to take a step back, re-evaluate the project and then act. That for sure taught me how to be flexible enough to face surprises or challenges that come up in life. We were also always guided and coached in the right direction by the project manager interns. They are not only professional but very approachable and friendly.

That first year at the LDI helped me to see life and my surrounding in a different way. It showed me how hard it is to organize everything unless you have the support of a team and how important it is to have a plan B in case things get messy.

Although it was very challenging and demanding, the experience has had a huge impact on me. I became a more conscious individual, especially concerning the Sustainable Development Goals. It allowed me to see the world in a completely different perspective. Today, I am lucky to embark on a new journey at the LDI, this time for the second-year program. I believe that it is another kind of commitment that will bring more changes in my professional life.

Asma Dalil

Computer Science Major

LDI Alumna 18/19

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