Domeremember - Volunteering at the TEDx University of Edinburgh

We are steadily grinding to the end of the semester with just over two weeks of lectures left. We have submitted two project reports and two others have taken their places. Saying that I am always busy is an understatement, as most times, I am always on the verge of being overwhelmed. Moreover, I did not help myself by the number of extracurricular activities I signed up for at the beginning of the semester. That is not to say that my colleagues who do not have those activities are having it any easier, of course. One of those activities, as I mentioned in my last post, was the TEDx University of Edinburgh. I did promised to talk about it then, and I shall do so now.

I was an avid follower of TED Talks during my undergraduate days. I really liked the perspectives they brought to issues which kind of broadened the way I see thing, or more correctly, some things. I had always wanted to attend a TED Talk but never had the opportunity. I sort of always knew about them after they had happened. Then in 2016 I finally to the opportunity to attend one as it was being held in my city, Calabar. Although I was in Lagos, I was going to be in Calabar during the time of the event. I had wanted to volunteer but was too late. Then I didn’t attend it. I still don’t understand how it happened, but somehow, everything seemed to have conspired to prevent me from attending. I just couldn’t attend it despite being in Calabar.

Therefore, when I saw the advert for TEDx University of Edinburgh in the one of EUSA weekly mails, I was excited and decided to attend. Going through their Facebook page, I saw that I could volunteer so I applied. The reason I did that was because, as a volunteer, I must be at the event. I always try to volunteer for events I really want to attend. Plus, there is also the advantage of not paying for it, which is great. I did the application where I was asked some weird questions to which I gave some equally weird answers. I guess they found my answers weird enough as they sent me an email informing me that I had got in. After that, there was a social event for volunteers to get to know each other but I couldn’t attend. Then there were flyerings at various locations and more meetings. Then on the 19th of February we went to “the McEwen Hall” to set up and to practice our various roles. Of course, I had to dash to Kings Building at 1pm for a meeting with my project supervisor and then a lecture. It was always a case of dashing here and there for me. 20th February was the date for the main event. We arrived at McEwen Hall before 7am to start getting ready for guests arrival at 9am.

The whole event was fun and interesting, plus I got to meet new people. We had a “toilet” sign that wouldn’t stand still and therefore confused people. They would go the wrong way and then come back to ask us where the toilet was. They had that look on their faces that seemed to be accusing us of consciously trying to confuse and mislead them. It was hilarious.

I was able to watch some of the talks and found some to be really great. I found the talks that were based on research very interesting and insightful, while those based on personal experiences were not so great. I guess it is difficult when one tries to explain the world, or life in general, based on one’s personal experiences. Personal experiences are too narrow to explain the complex and intricate continuum called life. But then that is only my opinion. Maybe I just like it better when people say, “This is what we have looked at. This is what we found. And this is how we think it applies in this or that area,” rather than, “I experienced this. So, I now believe this. Therefore, that is this.” But then, all the talks that I watched, irrespective of what I thought about them, have definitely affected how I see things, or how not to see things.

And McEwen Hall was and is just awesome. Even though I am trying very hard not to speak in superlatives, I think using “awesome” to describe McEwen hall does not do much justice to it. The hall is so wonderful that I got the frivolous feeling that it had the ability to make someone wise. I gather that that is where graduation ceremonies take place. So maybe, in addition to degree certificates, certificates of wisdom could be awarded to graduands by virtue of having their graduation ceremony at such a beautiful venue. That would be something, don’t you think?

Finally, I must mention that the TEDx University of Edinburgh has not been the activity that has taken most of my non-academic time. That honour goes to FreshSight Ltd, a student-led consultancy. I would have loved to talk about it, but I think I have the space to do that now. Hopefully, I’ll talk about it next time.

So, until then, have a good one.