Friday, 21 March 2014

GULP 2014

Heyyyy, cool cats.

My life is a major hot mess right now - I have a BILLION things happening and some of them are HARD and some of them are just TIME CONSUMING and some of them are GREAT.
So this year:

  • I'm talking a full psych course load, so all my courses are psych courses, including a research course which is simultaneously super exciting and incapacitatingly terrifying woo yeah alright!
  • I am playing basketball, which is activity, so fun! Also hard, because apparently stopping playing a sport for 3+ years means that when you come back to it you might not be as good???? It might almost be as if you haven't played for 3+ years??? Who decided on that rule?? 
  • I'm (still) doing cake decorating, for three hours a week, and literally no other time ever at all because despite really enjoying it I seem incapable of actually using my acquired skillset to produce anything that isn't made as a requirement in class! I don't know if I'll continue this because man, it's fun and I am completely uncreative otherwise, but it's a long time. And I already have very few nights free, what with night classes and such.
  • I'm helping develop the ANU virtual clinic which is an online mental health clinic for ANU students (and staff??). This should be totally awesome and really cool experience. I say 'should' because I don't actually really know what it involves yet, other than attending workshops (which will be catered ... but I'm definitely there for the experience).
  • Working 2+ days per week haaaaaaaaaa I totally have sufficient time-management skills to handle all this!
  • Probably some other stuff.
  • GULP!!!!!!! The title of this post!! a.k.a. what I will spend the rest of it talking about!!!!
So late last year, ANU posted a thingy about this pilot they're running of this program. This thingy contained delightfully little information, which I was hoping was due to them intentionally withholding information so the details would be revealed post-interview/acceptance but actually seems to be due to the fact that they actually just don't know anything. Specifics - who needs 'em?

What this means though is that I can't really give you a very detailed idea of what GULP is, but here are the basics:
A group of 11 ANU students and 11 students from the University of Minnesota have been chosen to participate.
Each ANU student has been paired with a UoM student.
We work together to develop ourselves as leaders and our cultural awareness.
We fundraise for our project.
In the middle of the year, we begin developing a project for implementation in a community in Malawi, Africa, which will help address a local need.
We complete the development of this project. *fingers crossed*
We go to Malawi for 2 weeks at the start of 2015, and complete the project in that community. 

That's basically all I've got at this point.
So far this year, the ANU students have been down to the coast for a weekend, to get to know one another and start to work as a group, as well as start planning our fundraising activities. The UoM students also went away for a similar thing.
Each group also made a video to introduce ourselves to the other group! Ours can be seen here:

The weekend was really fun and I think we all connected really well as a group, which is awesome. And CHEESY.

Since then, we've had one informal meet-up (to discuss fundraising further) and two formal meet-ups. The formal meet-ups have a) included the UoM students and b) not been very formal (much to the displeasure of the receptionist who works at the ANU office we use for the meetings - HA!). Both of these have been really fun and a good way to see everybody all together.

As part of the program, we've had to do a couple of tests, to determine our 'strengths' and our cultural awareness. These have been ... interesting, although I don't put a lot of value into those kinds of things. While they certainly have their place, well ... I know me better than some half hour test and also none of these things are stable and also those kinds of tests are never perfect. But discussing them as a group has been good!

Oh wow this was spectacularly uninteresting for people who aren't involved and not even very funny.

SORRY. Hopefully you enjoy the video?
Eh, who cares? 

(Me. A lot.)