A students perspective.
After making a 60 second animation on why I wanted to attend The Do Lectures and receiving an email to inform me that I had a ‘sponsored chair’ with my name on it, I felt sure that taking a leap into the unknown would be good for me. Uni was feeling a bit slow. Life a little too routine. So why not shake it up a bit?
Wednesday 25th of April. Three trains from Bath Spa to Carmarthen. Then a long taxi ride with 2 strangers, characters in a story that hadn’t been written yet. I felt young, and I didn’t like it. I felt young and I desired to be more knowledgeable. I felt young and I wanted to be older.
From the very first moment I sat down under a shelter from the rain, a cup of hot tea to warm me from the inside out and a freshly baked piece of apple and cinnamon cake, I knew that I was lucky. I knew I was somewhere special. And not just because of the delicious food and drink but because for once I knew that this was a journey worth making, despite the unsettling nerves and doubt in my mind. After speaking to just a handful of ‘adults’ I realised that the only difference between us was a number, apart from that we had all arrived into uncertain territory and no one quite knew what to expect.
The deal with the sponsored chair was that 10 students would receive a sponsored ticket to the event and whilst attending would have to make a film about the Do Lectures. (My sponsor was Mail Chimp) Well, at first I thought it would be easy. We were handed an iPod touch each and told to record every little detail of the event. Inspired by my surroundings but troubled by the tight deadline (three days) I got to work and started with the closest person to me. We talked. We ate. We laughed. We cried. And from person to person I continued to be overwhelmed by the passion burning within them, whether it be the family tradition of baking fresh bread every day or launching a LifeSaver campaign. I soon realised that this film was more than just a trivial documentation of my time there. It was a challenge to capture my own personal journey of what the Do Lectures meant to me, a beautiful and exciting task that encouraged me to take risks.
Over a hundred awesome people that were happy to teach and eager to share their stories, regrets, dark nights and ideas surrounded me. The great thing about the Do Lectures is that not only can you sit and listen to incredible speakers talking about what they have done and are doing with their lives, but you can also have a drink or eat dinner with them afterwards, a novelty that still hasn’t worn off. I was shocked and enlightened by the kindness and generosity of people and how much they have to give. I questioned myself, my actions and my desires. I started to realise that people are WONDERFUL. Alongside this I learnt to accept who I am and above all, I know now that it is great to be young. That it is okay not to have all the answers because if we did then life would be boring. Taking risks is how we continue to learn and ‘failure’ is only a stepping-stone of progress towards your final goal. As Sean Carasso said to me ‘Be light as a feather… the failures and the devastations will be your greatest lessons and they will lead you to your greatest victories. Love the whole process.’ It is a joy for me to be able to say that there were many incredible people at the Spring Do Lectures that I feel honoured to have met as well as make friends with. Sean is an inspiration to me and so many people with his goal of ending the war in the Congo and if you haven’t already heard of Falling Whistles I urge you to check out the website, watch the video and read the story. (http://www.fallingwhistles.com/)
Being a twenty-year-old student I cannot emphasise enough how liberating it is to know that fear is not only fine but also integral to learning. A massive THANK YOU is in order to all those at the Do Lectures for initiating the Giving Chair Student Brief that enables students like me to attend the event and of course to Mail Chimp, my sponsors. By giving me their support I have had my eyes opened to the potential of human beings and the power of passion.