When we feel powerful in our eyes, that's when become powerful in the eyes of others.
Merit 360 felt like rollicking back in the childhood days where we are like a sponge, where our inquisitiveness is at the highest level and our mischievous nature is inevitably portrayed. On the first day when we left for Pennsylvania from New York, I was befuddled. There was an amalgamation of emotions running in my nerves. Initially, I sensed cold breeze of pandemonium attack. I only saw and felt hands coming in towards me. As I hesitantly paved my way and started interacting with other delegates, I found my solace amidst everyone’s presence. My excitement knew no demarcation when I would happily introduce myself. We were so engrossed in introducing and sharing our common topics that a 4-hour bus ride quickly swept away. The program was nestled in the exotic location of Pennsylvania, totally hidden in the midst of wilderness. Indian head camp as the name suggests itself was our home for the next 2 weeks.
Every day during Merit 360 felt like traveling the world. Every day, every hour you come across people from different nations with their amazing stories that are worth listening and sharing. One day you hear about the amazing AISEC stories in Netherlands and the next day you’re fascinated to bewitch the story of a 4th-year university student who cycled all the way from Nova Scotia, Canada to Connecticut, USA. You find yourself in the group of Southampton (university of Southampton) whose strong sense of camaraderie will amaze you and you surely do not want to miss the jazzy fashion sense and energetic dance moves of my African friends. Whether it’s the cheerfulness, confidence, and hard work of my Asian friends or the intellectual ingenuity of my pals from South America, you get to witness and absorb the powerful inspiration among theses diversities. We were all from 85 countries with different culture and lifestyle. Yet we were there, united by common passion and hunger to drive change. It was the sheer motivation we received from each other that inspired us to wake up every day with a purpose in our life and with an altruistic responsibility to accelerate the path while making this world a better place.
Apart from the daily tete-a-tete with the APEs, we also got the opportunity to interact with the influential leaders who are experts in their own game. Each and every speaker, from the charismatic leader Bernie Hollywood to the inspirational Terry Mollner, from the Wanderbriefers (Mark Van Der Heijden and Valentijn Van Santvoort) to the Googley man himself, Keith Weisberg and of course the youngest among all Patrice Madurai inspired us to dream. There are many speakers whom I have not listed here as I have to be aware on the lengthiness of this piece. I have to say, everyone made us re-think our purpose for our life. They pushed us to be the ultimate go-getters. Highlighting on the powerful virtue of voicing our opinion and on the true essence of story telling, they gave us the sheer motivation to be the catalyst for change. My encounter with all these speakers has generated the inevitable paroxysm of hope, a warm feeling of comfort on my quest to conquer my dream. The connection I have made with all the speakers is definitely one of the major highlights for me and I truly, eternally and completely feel very blessed to have the pleasure of connecting and sharing my small Himalayan world with all these prominent leaders.
Throughout the course of 16 days, I have reluctantly allowed myself to be challenged, asked questions and even get offended. I have been on a voyage to explore my weaknesses and have succeeded in discovering the hidden potential of greater strengths. It has been an incredible 16 days filled with the apotheosis of passion, impact driven initiatives and the dawn of an eternal friendship. I’m sure for me as well as everyone, applying to this program legitimately has been the wisest decision we have ever taken in our lives. Merit 360 is over, but this is just the beginning of our new lives. The actions, impact, and friendship we have nurtured in these 16 days will stay for years to come.