Hi, I’m Aimee and I’ve just participated in the Global Social Leaders 2015 programme. This is my story….

 

Unable to hold back the floods of tears in her eyes, she gripped my arm tightly and fought out the words: “Promise me you’ll come to Beijing and visit me.”

Thrust into a room full of strangers on Day One it still amazes me how people I did not know two weeks ago could become so important in my life.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about GSL is the energy it cultivates. Though we may have endless differences in culture, family, religion or up bringing; our common will for positive change in the world surpasses all of them.

What I love about GSL is that absolutely everyone is celebrated. When we remember that everybody, just like us, is still learning about life, the world becomes less of a daunting place; and best of all it doesn’t matter if we look a little silly!

I was overwhelmed and inspired by so many young people, all seemingly with beautiful artwork, documentaries, social action projects or books to their names. I am proud to now call these people my friends.

Lesson One: We all start out as strangers.

To me, the most admirable and beautiful quality of any human being is the ability to be fully in the present moment. The main inspiration for this next lesson is my coach, Ella.

Every single person you meet is gifted the same 75 (or so) years to make a difference. If you take away 8 hours of sleep each day, the time we spend eating, going to the toilet, procrastinating, playing on our iPhones, and everything else, we have about 258 months or 22 years to truly live.

GSL has taught me to take advantage of any time I have and to seize any opportunity (hence this blog post). My two weeks were over in a blink of an eye and before I knew it I was saying goodbye to the people I had just met. However my only true regret is that I did not smile more.

This experience has given me the drive to start my own campaign for something I care deeply about: the education system in England. For me, education is more than memorising facts and statements to suit exam mark schemes. We desperately need a less restrictive system, where students can develop creativity, innovation and a love for learning by immersing themselves in their subjects.

I am immensely grateful for GSL and the experiences it has given me. I am excited for the stories of change to come from both my project and those of all the extraordinary people I now know. What’s more, I’ve decided to take up yoga.

Until next time,

Aimee

“What day is it?”

It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.

My favourite day,” said Pooh.”

A.A. Milne