Are these Accolades important?
On paper this has been an incredible 12 months. I have been able to meet amazing people, I have been involved in amazing projects and I have been recognised nationally for some of the work I have been fortunate enough to do.
Last year, as some of you know, I was awarded the 'Be Inspired Award' from the Association of Jamaican Nationals for the work I do to support young people that belong to the diaspora. A big part of my 'why' and my identity is the fact that I am Jamaican *blows horn*, so being recognised by this particular organisation meant a lot to me.
Throughout the 2017/2018 academic year, I also had the great pleasure of being President of King's College London African & Caribbean Society (KCL ACS). This is the largest ACS in London, catering for hundreds of students across our 5 campuses. My vision was to make ACS a welcoming and safe space for everyone who engaged with us, a place for support and advice, and a place to unapologetically be yourself. Most importantly for me, I wanted to make sure that the Caribbean portion of ACS was sufficiently and accurately represented.
Additionally, with help from some people within King's, I was able to start a project called #QueensAtKings (see link: https://bit.ly/2NNasf4). I felt that there wasn't enough representation for Black female students, specifically, at King's. The project aims showcase the incredible things that Black female students are doing alongside their degrees. Hopefully, it has and will serve as inspiration for prospective and current students.
In the last few months I have been recognised as one of the Top 10 Rare Rising Star by Rare Recruitment (see link: https://bit.ly/2Oifldf) and even more recently I have been recognised as one of the Top 100 Future Leaders for 2018 by Powerful Media. Although I am very grateful for all of these accolades, I have been thinking to myself "what does this mean?"
The answer is: to me, personally, very little.
"to inspire other young people who feel like they are at a disadvantage or those who have been deprived of hope and the necessary opportunities required to accomplish their aspirations" - myself, 2013
Most importantly, I have been able to positively influence and affect hundreds of lives directly through some of the work I have done. Just this summer, I completed a summer internship with King's College London Widen Participation (KCLWP) department (see link: https://bit.ly/2x5EWzB), where I was able to organise and run summer schools for nearly 500 students, as well as discuss matters concerning the recruitment of student ambassadors and the BME strategy. I have been able to mentor students, speak at schools and help students applying to study Medicine at university. This is what I consider my purpose to be and I am forever grateful that I have been able to work towards fulfilling that promise I made over 5 years ago.
People ask me "how do you get these awards?" or "how much do I need to in order for it to be enough?". My opinion is that you should never make an accolade your target. I believe everyone has a purpose and if you work on fulfilling that, the accolades will come with it. Even if they don't, an award should never determine how value you place on yourself and the work you do - they are given based on the opinion of people who have their own beliefs, differing expertise and their own biases. You're great as you. Be you. Focus on being a better you. That is the only accolade you need - 1st place in being a better you.
Thank you for reading and let me know what you think. Do you agree or do you think more value should be placed in accolades?