Q: What is UCL?
Jill: UCL stands for University Club Linkage. It’s a company branding initiative that mainly aims to support and empower different student leaders and school organizations within CDO. This targets school organizations that are related to Education, English, and Technology – the three main areas the company is known for.
Q: How was it formed?
Jill: Back in February 2018, we had an interesting career talk in Xavier University with a group of graduating Education major students where some of their most pressing concerns about landing a job or career life were brought to light. We saw a need for events or activities where students can have more interaction with professionals so they can have a better grasp of what lies ahead after graduation. In addition, we’ve also noted that there were limited inter-school club collaborations or interactions so networking in one’s field (Education, English, Technology) was limited as well. Upon interviewing some student leaders, we learned that this is mainly due to the absence of having one specific body that will initiate and facilitate things. We thought that we can be that! So why not assume the role? Knowing that this is an area where Envizion can fill in and provide opportunities, the idea was discussed, proposed and approved by the management right away. After that, some Envizion PH employees like Nikky, Charity, Geffel, and Teniza were tapped and gladly agreed to be part of the initiative. Being student-leaders themselves back in their college days, coordination and task accomplishment was easy, fun, and a continuous learning process!
Q: Who are the members of this project and what are their specific tasks/roles?
Nikky: When UCL started, there were just me and Miss Jill until we found a need to tap more people. Now, there are 4 of us. Miss Jill is our project head; her task is to approve activities and look into the preparations and the entirety of the initiative. My task is to coordinate and communicate with our partner organizations. Charity works more on the preparations for each activity, such as what materials are needed and how to manage our budget. She is also like the creative mind of our group. Teniza is the one who organizes our events. She does the program flows and thinks of topics and activities as well. She’s also our main person to tap as speaker or emcee.
Q: Tell us about your recent activity.
Teniza: Last year, we went to different schools and joined the General Assembly of every school organization that is part of UCL. We facilitated portions of the program. We did orientations, played games. and introduced Envizion Philippines to the students.
Q: Tell us about the work your project does and the program/s you run.
Nikky: The main goal of our initiative is to unite the different school orgs here in CDO that focus mainly on English, Communication, and Education. That’s why we do meetings with their presidents and vice-presidents/representatives. The best activity we’ve done so far was the Leadership Camp for their club officers. We were able to help them know and communicate with other student leaders. Currently, we are coordinating with our partner orgs for their activities. We also did General Assemblies with them that allowed us to interact with the members of their orgs. We are now looking into working with them for seminars and workshops that can highly equip their members in the business world and what it looks like to be a member of the working society.
Q: What are the three biggest challenges your team faces?
Nikky: I think it would be time, opportunities, and losing contact with other organizations. We don’t have the same shifts and it really takes a lot of process to arrange a meeting with everyone. And sometimes, those meeting times are not enough. There are events that are announced short-notice so we really need to cram for preparations and we also have a lot of tasks to handle. Teniza and Charity have their lessons, I have Ops duties, and Miss Jill is our manager which means she is loaded with a lot of different tasks. As we progressed, I realized that the opportunities to work with the partner orgs has become lesser. One reason for that is because of the school activities the partner orgs are having. They have a lot of requirements to submit, thesis to research on, and some are having their internship as well. Resulting to us becoming lax about the matter because we worked on our own tasks, too. We also experienced losing organizations that we had already made contact with. Reasons for this are that they don’t have a concrete structure for their organizational body and strict requirements from the school heads that we try our best to cater.
Q: What do you do to overcome these challenges?
Nikky: For time, we delegate the tasks depending on each and everyone’s work load. We set deadlines and we really stick to our checklist to make sure we are not missing anything. We also help each other to minimize the load. To have more opportunities with our partner orgs, we plan out activities for them. Currently we are working on a list of activities, seminars, and workshops that they can collaborate with us and that we can cater. They can consider it some sort of menu. Lastly, we don’t lose our grip with those schools that we lost contact with. As the one who communicates with the student leaders, I still try my best to reach out to them or just to even ask them how they are. I also continue to tap other schools that may be potential partners to keep our initiative growing.
Q: How do you manage your time between lessons/operations and UCL?
Charity: It’s tough. However, if you love what you’re doing, you will always find beauty in it even if it’s difficult. In our job, everyone knows how important time is. While doing the project, I always make sure to double check my work schedule and it was essential to have a to-do list. Managing and utilizing my time properly was the most challenging part. Blocked slots were given for UCL tasks and it wasn’t enough since we have pre-scheduled activities and of course booked lessons. That’s why sometimes I do pre-OT and post-OT just to finish everything on schedule. Since I work in the afternoon shift, there were moments when I had to use my meal breaks to purchase necessary materials or to coordinate with the other team members. I found fun in what I’m doing that’s why I never get tired of it, even if I work late at night to do the decorations, etc. I learned to set priorities and focus on scheduled tasks. Time management has never been easy, but when you got people like the OPS who really help in making workload less confusing, surely you can achieve your target goals for the day.
Q: As former student leaders yourselves, what advice/tips can you give to graduating students/student leaders to help them find their career path?
Teniza: Practically, you should take a career path that is in line with your degree/course. This is for you to apply whatever you have studied in college. But, for some of us, we might have been forced by some people or by our situation, to take on the course that we are currently enrolled in. So, if this is the case, one good advice is to really know what you are passionate about. And weigh if your passion is achievable and practical as of the moment. We all have different plans for the future, but we are never sure what will happen along the way.
Charity: A lot of graduating students are unsure of what’s next after graduation. Opportunities come and go so they should know what to grab. First, they should assess themselves. Then, identify their goals. They should see their career as a stepping stone towards something great.
Nikky: Only one thing: don’t forget your passion for leadership. It’s the best thing you can get from your experiences as a student leader. You can reach higher grounds with this passion and continue to inspire others.
Q: What general advice can you give to anyone who might be interested to join projects/initiatives but are hesitant to do so?
Jill: Hesitant? Why? Figure out the answer to that one first. I believe that one must decide first what he or she really wants before proceeding or else, time and effort are just wasted and endeavors become too exhausting and eventually futile. Let me share this one main insight instead. I believe we all just want to do something that we love, something we consider as the best expression of who we really are. So first, it is crucial for us to work on knowing who we are and what we really want to do regardless of society’s norms and standards. Once it’s established, do things aligned with that. Your job description may not be aligned with that yet but try going beyond that and do things aligned with the path you intend to take even if it inconveniences you. Though Nikky is an Operations Staff, she agreed to take part in the initiative and enjoyed talking with passionate student leaders. Though Charity, Teniza, and Geffel are tutors, they agreed to put in extra hours even weekends and do what is beyond their job description thus providing them an outlet for their creativity. Let’s not be confined with the current norms and you’ll see that there is so much more we can accomplish and achieve.