Hello, my name is Ricardo Vitorino and I’m Portuguese. I joined AIESEC in March of 2009 and went through many different experiences from team member of a local project to MCP of my home entity in 13/14. After that, I went to Poland for a 2 months Teaching Portuguese Professional Internship, followed by another 8 months teaching experience in China. Last week, 12 months after my last active role in a team and understanding how much AIESEC had changed in just one year, I officially became an Alumnus member of AIESEC.
After spending one quarter of my lifetime with this organization and letting it get so deep into my heart, where is the switch off button? This is one of the many questions I had when becoming an alumnus. I don’t have the answers, but here’s my take.
When is it time to say no?
This is a recurring question in my mind… I said yes to chairing conferences. I said yes to be a Board of Advisors and Board of Directors at National and Local levels. I said yes to deliver trainings in different local committees. But, when will I start saying no and “move on”?
I think that at the beginning of this Alumnus journey it’s completely normal to feel this because it was just yesterday that AIESEC was present in my life every day. Becoming an Alumnus felt natural to me because I had taken enough from the organization and at the same time I felt like my contribution had been positive and impactful enough for me to “move on”. I expect that the time to starting saying no to all the requests will come naturally as well. Other priorities will come in life and with time, some functional knowledge might become useless or obsolete.
Where are the new friends?!
My 2nd thought was that while in AIESEC you get used to meet new people, almost on a daily basis. You do cold calls, attend meetings, travel to other countries do an internship or a CEEDership, receive trainees from the other side of the world and, of course, go to AIESEC conferences. You are constantly being bombed with opportunities to get new acquaintances and friends who enlarge your contact list to the thousands.
Now, for me, it isn’t so easy to get to know new people. First, because there are less “natural” opportunities on my job and second because I tend to look for my old AIESEC, University or High School buddies. You look for them because they have great memories to share and, most importantly, they have values in common.
Am I really a good contributor?
I had the chance to work in 3 different companies from 3 different countries within the last year and in all of them I was recognized as a worker who is over the average. To be honest in all of the 3 I felt that I wasn’t working as well and as hard as I used to do in AIESEC. However, because we are used to strive for excellence constantly, it was easy to adapt to the new challenge.
AIESEC gave me so many times the opportunity to grow like never before at a personal and professional level that now it isn’t easy to find equal challenging experiences.
In the end, I don’t really know how to answer to my first question. What I can say is that from my perspective there 3 main things that AIESEC gave during my active participation on it which are fundamental on my journey as an Alumnus, Citizen, World Leader, Friend and Family Member: Friends for life, a set of values to practice every day and an incredible professional experience difficult to beat.
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