Fridays. What’s your favorite part? Do you like to go hiking? See a movie? Go on a date? Catch up on homework? As a student, my Fridays are spent doing a nice combination of everything, except for once a month.
Once a month, students gathered at different community colleges in California and discussed subjects like student success, civic engagement, and simple ways to make a difference in your community. My first Meetup was just in April but I have already connected with so many people and gained several opportunities! I had no idea what I was getting into with these Meetups, but as Jade Flader, our lovely Meetup organizer always says, “Say yes!”
The importance of simply trying something new and “Saying Yes” to things has created countless opportunities for me and I would like to encourage everyone to do the same! Many times, I am staring a big scary task in the face, trembling at the knees, saying yes, only to realize in the end that the scary monster was a tiny mouse. And honestly, if I hadn’t taken this advice to heart, I would never even be writing this blog or be participating in so many amazing events, leading me to some of the most knowledgeable, supportive people. I know that I cannot always say yes, but whenever time permits, I say yes without letting fear guide my choices. Empower yourself, bring change to your community, and fulfill your life with one simple word.
To back track a bit, I first became involved in the Mobilize CA Meetup Series as a table facilitator. Meaning, yes, I attended Meetups to learn, network, and be empowered but am also there to practice my communication skills. As a facilitator, I guide groups in their conversations in order to reach consensus. In the case of the CA Meetups, I have become both a participant and a guide, offering my opinions, while guiding everyone to a common choice that will help create student success.
To back track even further, I became a facilitator by saying yes…many, many times. I took a speech class for my GE requirements and was recommended to take a facilitation class, which I said yes to. I not only had no idea what facilitation was, but no idea what the class was even about or what it involved. In my facilitation class, I was approached to be a table facilitator at a Meetup.
I looked Mobilize up on the internet and had an outline of an idea of what the Meetup would be like but wasn’t completely sure. I showed up on that first Friday in April without a clue, ready to facilitate, hoping for the best. At the Meetup, I was approached to start writing blogs for Mobilize and as they say, the rest is history. To shorten my story, saying yes has gotten me involved in the Student Senate which I never, ever, can I say in my wildest dreams, ever thought I would be doing, got me involved with Mobilize, which I have come to absolutely love and respect, and has gotten me better grades, a better GPA, and made me a more successful student! Say yes whenever you can and it will improve not only your attitude towards school, but your attitude towards life!
On Friday, May 4th, students met at San Francisco City College to discuss new and innovative ways to promote student success. As everyone filtered in, familiar leaders reconnected and new leaders networked around the room. As the energy in the room began to build, a panel of speakers was brought to the front. Because of the panel members’ activism and experience starting their own organizations, they were able to offer a first hand knowledge of how to start an organization as well as sustain it on campus. Many vital pieces of information were provided and creativity for change was sparked.
Before the MeetUp, Millennials were encouraged to present a project that assisted students in the completion of their education. Projects consisted of many ways to help fellow students, from a community food cabinet for students who may not have the funds for such resources on campus, to an environmental education program, there were programs designed by students for students, which could help in the difficult college process. Although it was said that only three out of four programs could be funded, Mobilize found a way to fund all four, ensuring these amazing programs an opportunity to make a difference in their communities.
Walking away from this MeetUp, I personally felt an immense sense of fulfillment. Not only were we discussing new ways to assist our fellow students, but were actually finding ways to organize, implement, sustain, and fund these valuable services and programs we created. All I have to say is, way to go Millennials; we truly are becoming the generation that will make a difference. Keep Mobilizin’!
Brianna Cartoni is a Featured Blogger for Mobilize.org’s The Millennial Report. After moving to several cities, Brianna has finally arrived back in her hometown of San Jose, CA in the San Francisco Bay Area. Though each place had its interesting quirks and perks, she quickly discovered that there was truly, “No place like home”. The valuable lessons and amazing people she met formed her strong ideals and presented her responsibility to preserve the environment through education, communication, and personal lifestyle.