I graduated as a 16-year-old, from a high school in a small town where most people already know what their profession will be. I had no idea, but I knew I had become interested in the areas of law and business throughout school. Then for one reason or another I entered the Faculty of Foreign Philology for my further studies. I felt like I should have had clearer goals and wondered why everyone was so sure of the career path ahead of them and I was not.
While at college, my alma-mater provided me with the opportunity of a dean’s scholarship and to study exchange at the National University of Malaysia. During this time, I volunteered at the ASEAN International conference which I loved. I wasn’t sure if this was to determine my future career, but I soon realised it had created a passion for me to be a lifelong volunteer. And upon arrival back in Kazakhstan I joined the local league of volunteers where I was able to be part of human management in some of the most superior events in the country, such as EXPO Astana and Universiade 2017.
Towards the end of my student life I was placed on an internship as a Teacher and Assistant Curator at a University where I discovered skills of methodology. At the end of my internship I found myself craving to work abroad again. Hence, I found the possibility to spend my summer holiday in the United States on another international exchange program for 4 months in Massachusetts. It was there, in the cozy town of Cape Cod, that I met the most responsive colleagues and made great friends. It was also then that I realised I had a desire to work in an international organisation where I would have greater opportunity to exchange viewpoints and thoughts from different nationalities and cultures. I still did not know exactly what I wanted my profession to be, but I knew that those kind of relationships were important to me.
After I obtained my bachelor degree in 2019 I started my first professional career in Kent. As soon as I was hired, I immediately joined the multicultural environment I was looking for and was exposed to dealing with both internal and international challenges. From coordinating administrative and support functions to building solid relationships and balancing multiple priorities; it turns out my background and experience to date has prepared me to excel in these roles. Thankfully, I now feel everything has happened exactly as it was supposed to. It seems every day here is spent with smart and sagacious people around me, inspiring me to seek even more versatility in my life.
Realising there are so many additional opportunities out there but also being overwhelmed by the choices for the future, I also decided to start applying to various universities and scholarships. Now I’m pleased to share that an application has been successfully considered and I will be joining the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign at the end of this year with a Presidential Scholarship from the Republic of Kazakhstan. The selection criteria was pretty strict, but I am greatly appreciative of the opportunity and knowing that all of my education costs will be covered by my Kazakhstan government scholarship. This is the opportunity of a lifetime and I am grabbing it with both hands.
As I look back at the steps I have taken, I now appreciate that every one of them was intended for me. There were no mistakes and no need to compare myself to others. 2020 has been an unusual year but it is encouraging people to push themselves outside of their boundaries and think beyond their own limits. We as humans are so adaptable. With enough grit and determination we can achieve anything that might initially seem impossible and it is OK to diversify your direction at any time.
I am sharing my story in the hope that it will remind people not to evaluate themselves against others. We are all on our own journey, and we all have the opportunity to make changes and continue improving at any time. Just thinking about our own situation differently and experiencing something new can always give you the wisdom and the skills to move onto something else that you would not have known was your passion otherwise.
There are some special people at Kent, who I want to thank for noticing me and giving me some of these learning and growth opportunities. Including my Project and Line Managers, Mike Landsey and Maurice Dinneen, as well as Yermurat Sagyndyk, Rene Rico and Almas Nagashybayev for mentoring me and always having confidence in me and my abilities. From the core of my heart I am grateful to have met colleagues who have influenced me so positively. It is always said, actually, that we do not meet people by accident but they are meant to cross our path for a reason. I hope that we will cross more than once on our individual paths and support each other even more. I consider all my latest achievements to be connected to the time I have spent and experience I have gained while working at Kent. I am thankful for that as I take my next step into my future.
I encourage everyone to share their stories with each other. Everybody has a story to tell and they are all individually beautiful. They need to be told and heard. It’s only through hearing each other’s stories that we can appreciate our own journeys. And that there really is no need to compare ourselves to others.