A letter to future participants from our eminent participant from 2017, Rialda Spahic from Bosnia. Photo by Vilde Bang Foss / Vilde Media
Dear YSI 2018 participant, you are about to embark on a journey like never before – if you know how to use the given chance. Many ask me about the process and the application and how to get to become a member of Young Sustainable Impact. I’ve decided to write you my story and how YSI marked my year and how many of the upcoming ones will be shaped by the experience.
Can I really make it to the program?
Winter, 2017. The application process is on. The first email, round one: passed. Now waiting, a bit unsure of what`s going to happen, but round two is in play. Passed. The competition is real. People are messaging each other, the group on Facebook is on fire. Round three, Well, impossible right? Only a handful of people are making it in! The struggle is real and this is when you have to unbutton the first button of your shirt and swallow your breath. Midnight is approaching and inbox is filling in from all over the world: “Did you get in? I got in!”. These were long, long hours. Then, an email from YSI with a subject of: Thank you (imagine my disappointment), but content contained a list of the names of people from my team. Could it be that I’m in? I had to reread the email for a few times, but yes, I am in (OMG)!
“Or is it that we are just way too consumed by the random time-passing days we live in and we simply delay our thoughts and ideas for tomorrow?”
Do not wait for tomorrow
I have always been in love with the future. It`s the reason I’m a computer scientist. Even though technology is advancing so fast, it seems like our consciousness about our own environment is not. What to do with fancy gadgets and virtual complexity if the world around us is dying? I come from a place that does not have time to concern about these things that much. There are so many problems, there aren’t many solutions. It is quite depressing when you give a deep thought to it, isn’t it? But unfortunately, it seems like most of the places on Earth don’t have time to devote to creating and implementing solutions. Or is it that we are just way too consumed by the random time-passing days we live in and we simply delay our thoughts and ideas for tomorrow? But tomorrow brings another random time pass, so we leave it for the next day. And the next day, and the next day.
Have you ever felt like you are someone who actually doesn`t want to postpone your ideas, but don’t seem to get it started on? Well, I for sure felt like that. “Rialda, don’t waste time talking about the future, it’s not like you can do something about it.” Guess what? – maybe I can’t do much alone, but there are people like me and we can work on it together. And that’s what we did in YSI. My team is comprised of people who think like me, have different backgrounds and experiences which brought never-exhausting topics to share an endless pool of overwhelming ideas. And the best is that there are so many other people from all over the world in YSI, everyone sharing the sustainable dream and the best of all – no one wants to wait for tomorrow!
The struggle of virtual teams is real
The first few meetings might be strange, you breathe into a microphone and try to get yourself heard while your colleague from across the ocean is introducing himself, so you end up calling in and out and waiting for everyone to have their connection working fine. But it only takes a while until you stop seeing these people as strangers and start feeling very close and opened to them. And yes, you finally find the common hour when to meet and finally find a perfectly working online conferences platform for all! So, months pass and your notebooks are filled in with everything you’ve ever thought of and beyond! You start to count down the days when you will finally meet all of these new “virtual” friends. (One quick advice: please, get some proper sleep before you get to Oslo because you’ll work and work and after that, you won’t like to waste time sleeping, but rather wandering around with the crew and experiencing green vibes of Norway!)
“But when I finally met them for the first time in real life, it was beyond overwhelming”
The impossible is possible
I was the first one of my teammates to arrive in Oslo, but when I finally met them for the first time in real life, it was beyond overwhelming, “It’s you! You are real!”. It’s truly a spectacular feeling. Now you are finally offline, no more “do you hear me?” rants, and no more quests for the time zones. But this does not make things easier, this is when the struggle becomes real. You get two weeks of work from 8 in the morning (including breakfast) until late in the evening. In these two weeks, loads of crazy things happen. You meet amazing mentors and get to see inspiring presentations from lots of different people and enjoy real conversations about the problems you’re facing with. In times, you will feel like you and your team are maybe heading the wrong direction, not doing the best or are just lost somehow. You might even experience a spectrum of different emotions. The crisis is natural and a sign that you’ll soon come up with a discovery. Our discovery was Decdis – working for healthy communities. Now, months after August ‘17 and stepping into the next year, we are still together.
The whole project and the friendships and the work is still on! The results surpassed our expectations and strengthened our belief in the process YSI taught us. This made us believe that we can make the impossible possible. Get that sparkle that will inspire you and the world around you. Let us unite!
And if you ever wonder about it, remember that there is music in the universe if you know how to listen.
Rialda from Decdis,