The following blog post was written by Bow Valley College learner Aaron Pelletier, as part of the IC Scribe program through the Intercultural Centre. This program encourages learners to share their ideas and experiences through blog posts. Aaron has been an active volunteer with the Intercultural Centre since March 2016. In that time he has taken on numerous volunteer roles to support IC events. He has also embraced public speaking, having participated in the MC in the IC program and will be speaking at TEDx Bow Valley College 2017. Aaron is currently enrolled in high school upgrading at BVC and has received multiple academic awards for his accomplishments. His goal is to pursue a diploma in Youth Justice Studies.
I am on a journey.
I was feeling detached. Then, I had a revelation. Imagine if you will, doing something that you have always wanted to do, but self-doubt holds you back from doing it. For instance, having the confidence in yourself to speak publicly. Intimidating, right? I thought to myself, “If only I could do something like that…?” The idea was very overwhelming. I realized that I had a lack of faith in myself.
So, what was I to do? I decided to make an agreement with myself. This included doing new things like meeting new people to create connections in school and getting involved in volunteering opportunities. I recall the first time I did public speaking as an MC in the IC. I was nervous to say the least. It turned out that most of the build-up was in my head. But once I started, all that fear washed away. I pushed through and did it like a champ! In doing this, I began to sense a newfound confidence in myself and this encouraged me to keep volunteering.
My favorite IC volunteering gig was an event where the main goal was to bring awareness to food portion discrepancies around the world. It stirred an awareness in me. Basically, what I have found is that by implementing these tasks to seeking and self-discovery, I have not only strengthened faith in myself, it has also reinforced my faith and confidence in others. At a deeper level, I have found that in being open to other people’s personal experiences, it changes my perception. I see our similarities. It’s not just the public-speaking events that intrigue me, but also the sense of community and belonging.
Personally, I have gained a new confidence in myself through volunteering at the IC. It has helped me improve my public speaking skills, especially when I do speaking engagements with high school students about my life experiences. I have also done some open mic slam-poetry readings. Getting up on stage and reading my own poetry? I never thought I would be doing that in a million years! I have also been invited to speak at TEDx Bow Valley College in November. The best part of it is that I have discovered that as an individual, I am more alike to others than I ever imagined. In many ways, we really do mirror each other.
I have come to understand that by getting involved and putting myself out there, I have been able to combat a lot of my self-doubt. A lot of it has had to do with acceptance and faith. So, if there is any piece of wisdom that I can share with you it is this: everything begins at a surface level, and the more that one breaks through the barriers that one places in front of themselves, the more opportunity that one finds waiting for them on the other side. A great first step is to put yourself out there and get involved as much as you can. As you challenge yourself and go deeper within, the vision that you seek for yourself becomes clearer and much more self-evident. At least for myself, that is what I have come to discover.