Whether we set New Year’s resolutions or not, the end of one year and the beginning of another immediately lends itself to some reflection on insights gained, lessons learned or memorable moments and meaningful activities to recreate. ALA students and staffulty share the highs and lows of 2017 that will shape the way they approach 2018.
Milind Bhoyroo – Year 1, Mauritius
I spent most of 2017 here at ALA and this has shown me that feeling homesick should not affect who I am. So I will make the most of my time here, and use that to make home better, when I return. I will use my time to grow, and discover new things rather than comparing what is here and not there… For example, if I see institutions or anything that can be of use back home, rather than complaining of the lack of it back home, I can add it there… Like the Rubik’s Cube: nobody in Mauritius can do it properly because there is no competition. I have made sure that from this January, there will be competitions. (Milind is Mauritius’ National Rubik’s Cube champion, and this year aims to beat the Guinness World Record for the most solves while running).
Erick Melinda – Year 1, Uganda
I’ve learned that humans are like trees; they grow continuously until they are cut down or die. We continue learning until we die; we never stop learning and growing. When I came here, I learned group work. To take Africa to the next level, we have to work together. The human body has different parts that all coordinate together to function and perform certain activity; as a group, like the human body, we need to work together, hand in hand, to perform great stuff.
I’ve also find my passion: Social Development – I’m interested in agriculture and science and techonology… it was some struggle for me to identify my passion until I came here.
Claire Federhofer, Language Faculty
I have decided to leave criticism in 2017. I believe that if we constantly focus on finding the things that are wrong with everything, we get stuck focusing on the negative and we miss all the positive things that result in growing and learning. So 2018 will be my year for growth and knowledge.
Uzo Agyare-Kumi, Emeritus Dean of the Academy
I’m leaving behind my old habits of low self-esteem and a lack of self-confidence and I embrace and carry along my toolkit of integrity, compassion, empathy, self belief, and an authentic positive mindset into 2018.
I have learned so much from the people I interact with at ALA , especially from my colleagues in Global Programs. Their passion for the work they do shines bright and is carried out with such a sincerity of truth and integrity. It’s a pleasure to come to work everyday and be amongst them. They have taught me what it means to truly Identify what’s important: develop a critical passion for the work you do and connect meaningfully to the people, issues and concepts that matter.
Tania Twinoburyo – Year 1, South Africa and Uganda
The things that have resonated for me was probably at the beginning of the year, when I approached a group of kids to discuss debate, and spent a week with them. They always wanted to know about me, and it made me see things I hadn’t noticed before. I started writing about what I like and dislike about myself. It made me realize that the things I didn’t like about myself were a major part of my identity, and I began to accept them. You’re only as perfect as your flaws – and I realised that having these flaws was what made ME unique.
Lebogang Mothibatsela, Entrepreneurial Leadership Faculty
I am leaving behind self-doubt and allowing my self-esteem to be grounded in other people’s understanding or recognition of my efforts.
I am taking a greater sense of self-awareness and desire to understand others better. I aim to listen deeply and carefully in order to grow my empathy for others.
Kezia Adesanya – Year 2, Nigeria
What I’d like to hold on to in 2018 is what I learned at ALA: how to be deliberate about relationships. I realised that good things don’t just happen – you need to put effort into your friendships and relationships so that the best comes out of them.
Oghenetega Palmer-Ikuku – Year 2, Nigeria
Before I came here I was a selfish person – I cared about myself more than others. When I came in 2016, something personal came up a couple of months later and I wondered: who are my friends? I realised I had no friends. It made me realise the power of others. I started caring more for others – it has to do with sacrificing for the happiness of people around you. And when you are in a bad situation or crisis, you need people to elevate you. Community is so important. That’s what makes ALA what it is: the people. It’s not the building; it’s everyone, the whole team.
Monica Khoete – Year 1, Lesotho
I thought I was very social but I’ve realised that there are certain things I don’t like being associated with. Even before I came to ALA, some of us had formed chat groups. But meeting people in person is different. We don’t all share the same values and visions. Distancing myself from groups was really hard. And it meant I had no friends. I realised you don’t always need someone talking to you, and that I am happier alone than with a lot of people. In 2017, if I do make friends, it will be only one person; someone who understands that you don’t always need to be talking to them. I am okay with this.
Adnan Shafi – Year 1, Kenya
One thing I learned in 2017 is that it’s not about me – that’s the biggest thing that I learned. I was brought up thinking individuality was key, that you are on your journey and you can be anything you want to be, it’s up to you. But in life we are constantly living with and around people – it’s important to reach out when you know you have a weak spot and they can cover up for a lot of your shortcomings. I learned the ethics of teamwork and the idea that you are not always best at everything you do everywhere you go.