Where’s your charger? Personality styles and social energy

Our first post for a while, this is a guest blog from the wonderful Liana Skewes, who combines studying for a Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing, with working as the co-ordinator for Student Futures Online at FedUni AND being a fantastic fashion blogger! Liana has kindly allowed us to repost the following from her blog, which you can find here: http://findingfemme.blogspot.com.au

One of the most common misconceptions people have about me is that I’m an extrovert. This probably stems from the notion that extroversion involves being outgoing and introversion refers to reclusive behaviour. In fact, introversion and extroversion are about social energy, specifically where the energy from social activity comes from. Its no wonder when I’m confident, or energetic, or willing to have a go that people think I’m outgoing. Especially when I am often in positions of visibility, such as performing. Continue reading

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National Student Leadership Forum – Reflections of a Student Leader

“Leadership is the legitimate use of power to achieve outcomes on behalf of a group of people”

The National Student Leadership Forum on Faith and Values, held in Canberra over 4 days in September, was a melting pot of leadership styles, personalities, experiences and beliefs as young leaders from across Australia and around the world were encouraged to look beyond the label of ‘leader’, to what drives each of us to do what we do, to consider what it is to harness your faith and values into true servant leadership. Continue reading

The Student Leadership Conference, from a student’s perspective…

The One Small Thing conference is coming up on the 17th + 18th September – if you’re involved in the program, there’s really no excuse for not knowing that… 🙂 – and one of last year’s delegates, Bella, very kindly sent us her thoughts on her experiences last year.

FedUni Student Leadership Conference 2015 globe logoIn 2014, I began my interest in the Leadership and Volunteering Program and being a part of the wider university community. Best decision so far! It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet new people, undertake professional and personal development and have fun. I truly recommend having a look to anyone with an inkling of curiosity or enthusiasm for leadership, volunteering, socialising and learning. Continue reading

Yes I’m noisy, get over it!

This Blog comes to you from The Secret Leader…

Werribee gorgeI love my job at FedUni for lots of reasons; there are the warm and fuzzy reasons, like watching our students develop and evolve during the time they are with us, and then there are more selfish reasons like the fact that my job challenges me almost every day. I often find myself pretty far out of my comfort zone, which is generally terrifying but it has seriously accentuated the steepness of my learning curve and last year was the stand out for me and my PhD on life! So, for some strange reason I have decided to share the rambling journey I had last year into exploring my own personality, and maybe it will trigger others to embark on a, hopefully more streamlined, tour of self-reflection.

The learning started at the beginning of the year when I observed one of my colleagues deliver a workshop to our Leadership students on ‘Personality Types’. I seriously thought I was there to offer assistance, to provide refreshments and register everyone into the event – how silly I was for not realising that I, like the students around me, was embarking on a year of discovery about my own personality. I like to think that I am fairly self-aware, and I know that learning is for life, yet I still get a shock every time I find out something new, then suddenly that ‘something new’ seems glaringly obvious and I wonder how I could have lived all these years without noticing it. I learnt a few new things from that workshop, turns out I’m the ‘I’ in DISC, I’m a communicator and prefer big picture to details, and I’m energised by being around people and hate to work alone. These would be the foundation bricks for what else I still had to learn in 2014 about myself.

A few months later I was talking out a proposal with a colleague and I apologised mid-sentence, declaring “sorry if I’m talking rubbish, I need to verbalise my ideas to make sense of them”…what he said in reply hit me like a wrecking ball (minus the naked pop star, luckily). He responded in a tone of near horror, “Oh my god, you really are an extrovert!!” There it was the word that would haunt me for the next 6 months, a big fat label stamped across my forehead that lit up in sparkly lights for everyone to see whenever I spoke. It had honestly never occurred to me that I was, dare I say it, an EXTROVERT. I know that talking comes a lot more naturally to me than listening but I do really work hard to give other people their turn in the conversation, I try my best to always hear the other person and take their words on board. I get nervous when I talk in public, surely that means I’m partly introverted, doesn’t it?!

I took to reading a book which was recommended to me called “Quiet” to better understand this new world of introversion vs extroversion that I find myself in. I hear it changed my introverted colleague’s life; maybe it will have some answers for me too? Alas, after five chapters of hearing about how most of the world’s greatest brains, Einstein, Jobs, Zuckerberg, Gandhi to name a few, are all introverts, and how deep quiet thinkers come up with the most sense because they think before they speak unlike us noisy folk, I began to feel really bad about myself and wondered how I might go about adopting more of an introverted style.

In November, with a fresh group of student leaders in tow, we headed to Werribee Gorge for a day of team building including abseiling down a 20 metre cliff. The students went over the edge one by one in varying states of anxiety and excitement, I watched each one intently hoping to understand them better and pick up little gems of their personality to be able to work with them more productively across the coming year. Then suddenly it was my turn. One of my colleagues went first as I got into position for the knee-knocking decent. I watched her with amazement as she cruised over the edge without a word, her face a picture of determination as she glided down the cliff as quiet as a mouse as if she abseiled every week. Her ease at doing it made me even more nervous, I couldn’t possibly remain so poised and demure; she had set the bar so high as she elegantly landed at the bottom without even a squeak, I was sure to fail in comparison. I make more noise in my sleep than my colleague did when facing this actual life threatening task! Just like a true extrovert, as I got more terrified I made even more noise, screaming, cackling, whimpering as I went over the edge and all-the-way-down-this-frightening-rock-face. Finally, after the noisiest most tortured 20 metres of my life, my jelly legs were holding me up on firm ground again and I was side by side with my abseiling partner in crime, both of us filled with a mixture of relief and adrenaline. She turned to me and with one sentence absolutely floored me, she told me how scared she had been for the entire afternoon at which point my jaw nearly hit the floor “But you were so quiet, you looked so in control” I exclaimed in absolute disbelief. “No, that’s how I cope, I have to internalise to be able to get through difficult things” she replied. It turns out she thought I loved every minute of it because I was SO noisy. How different we are and how differently we handled the same situation, we were both a little in awe of the other and you could almost hear the penny drop in our brains as we began to understand our introvert vs extrovert behaviour. I hadn’t failed at all, I was just using a very different coping mechanism, a mechanism which worked just as well and even had people fooled that I was enjoying myself.

Along my journey I have realised that I seem to surround myself with deep thinkers, folks who have perfected the art of internalising thoughts and emotions in a way that would literally have my head exploding all over the carpet if I tried it; they are gentle people who really consider their words before sharing them, great analysers. They seem to be the ying to my yang, they have qualities that I have always admired greatly. But since the abseiling I have definitely stopped feeling bad about being an extrovert, I’m noisy, it’s just the way I was built, get over it! We all have different aspects to our personalities, different ways of dealing with situations. I’m delighted to have gone on such a journey of self-exploration and to understand those around me better, it has given me more insight into why I and others behave the way we do, I am getting better at pre-empting reactions and feel slightly less stressed than I used to when dealing with loud or quiet reactions. I have peeled off the sparkly extrovert label from my forehead and will continue to remind myself that I don’t have to be demure to succeed at life.

Have you ever shed a stereotype or peeled off a label, shiny or otherwise? Let us know by commenting below!

FedUni ENACTUS vs Australia…

FedUni ENACTUS selfie - From left: Lee, Deb, Dylan, Jess, Jane, Ben.
FedUni ENACTUS selfie – From left: Lee, Deb, Dylan, Jess, Jane, Ben.

To enable progress and inspire action! The ideals of Enactus were on full display as university teams from across Australia came together at the Grand Hyatt, in Melbourne, to showcase their entrepreneurial initiatives in place to improve the lives of people in need. The Fed Uni Enactus team, consisting of 5 active students along with our Faculty Advisor Deb, prepared our presentation for delivery to judges from major corporate sponsors, such as KPMG & Woolworths, as well as representatives from over 20 universities active in Enactus Australia.

WINNERS!!!!
WINNERS!!!!

After working hard to overcome a tumultuous previous 12 months, the FedUni team were in acompetition with  5 other universities, including UoQ & Latrobe, in a special ‘New Teams’ competition.  After a full day of competition, the FedUni Team were excited to be declared the winners of the Best New Team prize in recognition of our work on projects Adesua and FedUni Succeed, against a strong representation from all Unis involved.

The national competition winners heading to the World Cup in South Africa were the University of New England with the runners up being Edith Cowan University.  We’re excited to head back to nationals again next year in the main competition leagues and compete for our chance for a position in finals!

If you’re interested in the chance to develop your professional skills, help those less fortunate, travel or network with some of the highest executives of Australian business contact us via Facebook or fedunienactus@gmail.com for more info on joining our winning team! No matter your course, skill set, availability or interests we can help you achieve your personal goals and create positive change in people’s lives!

FedUni ENACTUS will also be running a workshop at The One Small Thing Conference at Mt Helen on 18th September, so you can find out exactly what they do and how you can get involved there: http://bit.ly/OneSmallThing15

  • Jess Kelly

Online volunteering: an effective way to help in a digital age?

With the rise of social media and an increasingly connected world, we are also seeing the rise of online activism. Being able to stay curled up at home when it’s cold and miserable and still be doing something to help others is an incredibly attractive prospect. But is it really helpful?

There are numerous different ways to volunteer online, ranging from signing a petition for a cause through websites such as Avaaz, Change.org or GetUp! to volunteering writing or IT skills to a particular cause. It’s hard to say how much impact your signature will have on a petition, but nobody can deny that they can create change – Avaaz have successfully used their online campaigns to lobby governments and big business on 251,804,704 actions since 2007.

Another sort of online activism that receives a huge amount of attention is via Facebook. As easy as it is to ‘like’ a cause you are interested in on Facebook, studies have shown that engagement from this sort of social media is fleeting and does not lead to any sort of meaningful impact. At best, it is spreading awareness of a cause without a follow-on effect. Though that’s not a bad thing in itself, either. You liking a post by Amnesty may introduce one of your facebook friends to their great work. You never know!

There are real and long-lasting changes that can be made by online volunteers. You could volunteer through the UN Online Volunteering portal, which links volunteers up to thousands of different opportunities from hundreds of reputable not-for-profit and non-governmental organisations ranging from writing, translation and research through to training and project management.

Another cool online opportunity could be to help transcribe field notes, specimen details and dairy entries for exhibits in Australian Museums or help Operation War Diary to discover amazing stories about World War I by reading and tagging some of their 1.5 million diary pages!

Online volunteering cops a lot of flack for being a ‘soft’ option. But I think it’s safe to say that if done the right way it can and will make a difference to the global community.

Volunteering – is it always a good thing?

I’m a pretty big fan of volunteering. I truly believe that volunteers have a huge impact on societies in terms of wellbeing, community health and the economy. Free labour is of course much cheaper than paying someone under the right circumstances. That being said, over the past few years I’ve been watching a new volunteering trend that I’m becoming increasingly uncomfortable with:

Voluntourism.

I’m sure you’ve heard the word before and probably know people who’ve been voluntourists themselves. The stereotype of a voluntourist is a middle-class Westerner with a high level of education who pays a company to head over to a developing nation or a remote Indigenous community and help out by building a house/working in an orphanage/teaching English for a short period of time. Essentially wealthy do-gooders who want to get a more “authentic”  and feel-good experience out of their overseas holiday.

17a7338a-6733-4bd6-b75f-26ad6ec16fd5-620x372Voluntourism is summed up pretty well in this video by the campaign End Humanitarian Douchery, which aims to end irresponsible voluntourism.

Unfortunately, this idea that Westerners can always help out those in “less fortunate” nations no matter what our skills and as long as we can pay our way is not only wrong, but incredibly harmful to the very communities we are trying to help. It sees us fall back into the trap of colonial missionaries who felt it their duty to tame the savages and educate them in the ways of the civilised world, without considering the beliefs and culture of the community they were entering. In particular, by young foreigners paying to come and complete tasks such as building mud houses, they are unwittingly taking these jobs away from locals who may well be more qualified to complete them and who would benefit from the employment.

This also creates an unequal power dynamic between the volunteer and the host community, in which the volunteer has a large amount of power over the locals because the locals must be grateful for the “sacrifice” the volunteer is making for them.

Another key issue with voluntourism is the lack of checks and balances in place for volunteers with some agencies.

In Australia we place a huge emphasis on responsible volunteering, which often includes police and working with children checks and codes of conduct (including rules for social media) for volunteers. Yet, it’s pretty common to see photos of a voluntourist hugging a smiling African kid on facebook accompanied by pages of comments stating “omg soooo cute, ur such a good person!!”

If a stranger came into a preschool in Australia and starting hugging and taking photos of kids we’d probably call the cops. Why is it ok just because we’re overseas volunteering?

At the heart of the matter, I personally don’t want to be idolised by a young child in Africa, Asia or South America. And I don’t want them to idolise any other young Western guy who rides in as a two-week white knight.  I want them to look up to people from their own community, with their own values. I want them to see the fantastic things leaders in their own communities are achieving and think “I want to grow up to be like them”.

So does this all mean we can’t volunteer overseas or in remote Indigenous communities? Not at all!

But it does mean that we need to get smarter about HOW we volunteer overseas. We need to make sure that what we’re doing is good for everybody involved and not just ourselves.

To do this, End Humanitarian Douchery has compiled a checklist of 8 things to keep in mind when looking to volunteer overseas:

  1. Ensure that you won’t be taking/displacing jobs that could be valuable to the locals of the community.
  2. Assess the impact of the organization you’ll be working with
  3. Ensure goals are LOCALLY driven.
  4. Consider the sustainability of what the organization does.
  5. Question and be wary of organizations accepting un-vetted/unqualified volunteers (& and don’t let that be YOU!)
  6. Research management and transparency of the organization
  7. Consider implications of your presence in the community (and your departure)
  8. Question organizations that are spending disproportionate amounts of resources on catering to the volunteers

So volunteer away! But make sure you do it responsibly.

Voluntourism_homepage

What are your thoughts on volunteering overseas?

Have you had any experiences with voluntourism and its positives/negatives?

– Claire.