Saturday, June 21, 2008

AIESEC, between the lines.

AIESEC. A lot of you already know about the organization. I would make a short introduction for those of you who don't know, but I don't thing it's the proper place. Instead of that you can visit and find out a lot about AIESEC. Everything you need to know about it. And don't forget to read the amazing stories of AIESECers! Experiences that you might envy, believe me. Anyway, the reason I didn't make the short introduction here is because here I want to say a few things about AIESEC "between the lines". So here I go :-) ...

AIESEC is a village. A small village habitated by global villagers. Actually it is more of a virtual village, with smallest sub groups (or sub-villages) living in it all together, physically. The habitats of this village are about 28.000 in numbers, all aged from 18 to 28-29 approximately. Sounds a lot for a village, but if you thing that they are actually allocated around the world it's not that much.

In this village called AIESEC, things are pretty much that any other village. You live with those you look more alike, but now and then you meet with other subgroups of the village and connect with them. Most of the times for functional reasons. A village needs all its habitats to contribute to its functions. There is always someone who makes the bread, someone who milks the cows and then gives the milk, someone who feeds chicken and producing eggs or the chicken as such etc. (Something like that, but a bit more complicated :-P ). Some (only a few) subgroups are producing everything by themselves and don't really care about the rest of the village. Anyway, there are times, when the subgroups meet just for fun or to celebrate important events.
What is pretty much admirable, is that even though the subgroups of this village are naturally different (in many many different perspectives), they somehow work perfectly together most of the times. Other times better or worse, but in most of the cases the match perfectly, despite all the differences.

Some of the villagers are more important than others. They are the leading villagers, who actually coordinate pretty much everything that happens in this big virtual village to make it function properly and be better than other villages that exist in this world (Yes in our world villages tend to be a bit competitive to each other...). All the other villagers admire them and respect them, and most of them wish to be in their position some day, something possible, as the leading villagers change once per year. History has shown that some of the leading villagers screw up sometimes (or at least the receive the blame), while others make huge turn-arounds and become role-model villagers.

Apart from that, many villagers move from subgroups to subgroups to meet the differences of the other villagers, so in the end what occurs is a huge mixup of villagers representing different subgroups, but many times not the ones they originally belong to. Some of them even represent a different group every year for 2 or 3 or 4 etc. years! So as you can see, in the end the village is really diverse in its total. The purpose is to be manage to become really good and skillful leading villagers and ensure the future health, stability and growth of the village, so after that they can move to a bigger city and do it there too :-)

Anyway, this village is not all about cool things. It also has bad things. All the bad things every village - physical or virtual - has. For example, if you are good, you will be recognized by the village for it. But if you are not good, then you will be judged for it ten times more. As the leading villagers change once a year, you can become suddenly someone very important out of nothing, as well as noone out of something. Some people still believe and respect the important people that were leading villagers in the past, but it doesn't count for all.
Moreover - a completely villagish (I don't think this word exists) phenomenon - people tend to like or dislike other people. Usually people who like you will be more supportive to you than to others they dislike, but the times you are in the opposite field can be quite as many. So you can never be sure. In my opinion, there are no villages that are completely meritocratic. In villages, the relationship you have with people and the reputation that lies beyond your name counts. The same applies for the AIESEC village. I am sure there are also many more cons that I miss right now, but the point is not to judge the village, but to give a "between the lines" both-sides image of it.

I am part of this village for 3 years now, and having in mind all the above, I was wondering what keeps me in and so committed to it. What do I get out of that village? Not the "professed" benefits, but the ones "between the lines". Well if you think of it, Real life is exactly like life in the village. Or, the life in the village is like real life in a smaller scale. And this is exactly what amazes me. That once you have finished with whatever you've done to the village, you move to the city (which represents the real life for those who still haven't got it) and you are ready to face all those situations. The good side and the bad side. The achievement and recognition side, and the srewed up one. And this time, you are much more mature while dealing with them. And this is one of my major discoveries throughout my life in the specific village...

You may have heard about Activating Leadership, you may have heard about Exchange Experiences, about Global Learning Environments, about unique life changing experiences -every kind of them-, cultural ones, student ones, professional ones, business ones, leadership, etc. (it can go on forever).
I agree.
In some places of the world it's exactly like that. In some other places it is not. It may be similar to that though, or totally different. This is because some leading villagers are not so good, but as years pass by most of the sub-villages align to the overall village (I am thinking right now that maybe I chose the wrong metaphor, it's becoming confusing...).
Anyway, what I wanted to say is, regardless if the above are true or not, what happens EVERYWHERE is that AIESEC is a very very very very very big and important preparation for real life. For today's life, and the life of the future...

If you ever get into the dilemma of joining or not, don't even think of it. Join.

P.S: For those who got really confused, please read the following :-P
AIESEC Village = AIESEC Globally (in its whole)
Sub-Villages = Countries
Leading Villagers = AIESECers in Leadership Positions, different level every time, those who know probably understand
Other Villagers = the rest (hahahahha)

Things to be said!

I hate it when this happens. And lately, it happens a lot. The reason that I am writing tonight, after such a long time is something that may not even be true, but even the thought that it could be true drives me crazy. Something that I cannot say, but believe me, of the things that hurt A LOT!

And all I feel right now, is rage. Anger and rage! Hate for the people that caused that feeling and for all the things that are happening in my life in those last few months. All I can feel is that I am trapped in an evil circle surrounded by evil things that have haunted every second of my life. And I am thinking what I always do in this moments.... I have two choices...Rage and revenge, or ignorance and moving on. For sure I cannot think clearly right now, and I cannot force myself to do it.

The picture I chose is exactly what I would like to do right now, but it is to late and I don't think its necessary for my family wake up in the middle of the night just because I feel like that. But for sure it would help...

And it is not only about what happened today, but also about what happens everyday. Every day that passes lately, and makes me doubt a lot of things. The people I know, the people I don't know, my values, my actions, my dreams, life and existence. I don't really know why. I know, it sounds too depressing, but you don't need to worry, I do not intend to kill myself. At least not now, I'm too young to die. If at my sixties I will still be without a family or a job I may consider it, so call me to see if I am OK in 38 years from now. Anyway, the point is that I am going after things that I cannot get, and I put myself into those situations that lead me to that mood, but WHY? One possible answer that I have in my mind is that I am trying to reach my dreams as soon as possible, but by trying the impossible. But is it impossible? Maybe I am incapable. That's what I need to figure out. And if I am incapable, have I really achieved what I am proud of, or is it an illusion of Stef*s mind?

Stef* was (and partially is) the brand that I created for myself during the last year. My full name is Stefanos, my friends used to call me like that for my whole life, the same as my family and relatives. But this last year Stef* was created. It's much more than half of my name with an asterix in the end. It was the part of ME that I was proud of. But I don't feel proud anymore. Not in the same way that I used to. I don't feel that Stef* can do ANYTHING anymore. But I used to believe in that, and that thing was driving me to achieve more and more, things that I try to bring back to my mind but I can barely remember WHY were they so important or why was I so proud of them. In a word, I feel wrecked. After running and running after things that keep turning their back on me or look back at me with this look of ignorance, I feel totally wrecked. And all I am trying to do is to use all the power I have remaining to build my future. All my life is that right now. Even in a low power state, again, I try to go after dreams...

Because I have dreams. I have dreams that I cannot accept as foolish or impossible. I want them, I've seen people who achieved them, and I want to be one of them. That is what keeps me alive. That is the source of all the power remaining. DREAMS. Dreams that one day...possibly...ONE F*CKING DAY...I will be what I was born to be. I will be what I always wanted to be. I will be surrounded by people that I chose to surround me, loved by people that I made them love me, and appreciated by people to whom I proved I deserve this appreciation. But most importantly, I will be able to look in the mirror and be proud for what I see. To look back at what I have done or what I am and be proud of it. With no doubts. And without ANYTHING that can create doubts.

But...For how long will I believe in this? How long till I quit? Will I quit? I hope not. I still want to believe in me. As much as I can, until something good happens. Something to take me out of this evil circle...