Yes, I am here again with another written masterpiece you all have been yearning for. In case you already miss me, you are welcome! But if you thought you were done with me now that I don’t go to USC any more, keep on dreaming! I am already possessed by the trojan spirit.
Firstly, I want to congratulate our USC SPE trojan nation for claiming the first ever Outstanding Student Chapter Award, and I cannot wait for many more to come. As the 2017-2018 President, I want to publicly thank all of you for the great achievement. It wouldn’t have been done without your passion, involvement, and your attendance at our chapter’s activities during the past year. This is your win! This is your success! And don’t let anyone ever steal the glory and the spotlight from you! We are all WINNERS in this game.
My presidential tenure was full of adventures, and turbulent ups and downs, but I cannot deny it was one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. I know many of you always have these conspicuous questions frequently crossing your minds: what does someone really benefit from joining SPE? Why do these people (E-Board) waste so much time, effort, and energy on a voluntary work like this? Is it really worth it? Let me list for you 9 reasons I benefited big time from getting largely involved with SPE, and believe me, they apply on you too:
1. You will discover your inner-self.
No matter how much you know about yourself, you still have a long way to go my friend. SPE can be one of the quick methods that will help you find this missing puzzle piece of your amazingly confused own self. Suddenly, you will start defining new goals, and also some strengths that you never knew you ever had before. You will learn how to deal with particular situations in a professional manner, be more organized, and discover what you are extremely good at. You will also get better at brainstorming, generating newly creative and innovative ideas, and developing overall self-awareness that should be your torchlight in the long term.
2. You will enhance your social intelligence.
If you think the basic classroom routine and technical ability are enough for you to have the best job with that super-duper major oil company, you need to wake up from your coma, my friend! As Dr. Steve Cheung, one of my greatest mentors, told me before: “When you go to the workplace, the hardest skill you can learn is how to deal with people.” This is the most important thing and the game changer. It is never about how much knowledge you have about this specific topic, that software you can use like a piece of cake, or the 4.0 GPA that you have. It has always been, and I believe it will always be about how you can perfectly communicate with different kinds of people, from different nations, cultures, and colors, whether they are your bosses, managers, co-workers, or even random people you meet in your regular daily basis. SPE is absolutely one way to develop your interpersonal skills, intercultural communication, overall emotional intelligence, and also build a solid background that will definitely help you ace any of these behavioral-questions-interviews.
3. You will learn how to concord as part of a team.
No doubt about it, teamwork is such an essential skill all employers are looking for, especially if you want to embark on a career in engineering. SPE puts you in that position where you must learn how to accept advice, ideas, and other perspectives, while also providing your own. This all gives a great sense of how perfect teamwork should be.
4. You will make valuable connections.
Let’s be honest! The ultimate goal for all of us is to get employed, right? This is actually the main reason why many people rush to join SPE, or even contest for various leadership positions. Do you know why? Because of the networking opportunities it comes with. It is like a real-life simulation of LinkedIn. The oil industry all around the globe is like a one international gigantic family. Whether you are a university student, faculty member, or an industry professional, we are all connected in one way or another under the umbrella of this beautiful industry that keeps on amazing me and getting me smitten with the fascinating fact of how small this world is. If you have been in the industry for a long time, or you have been enrolled in a petroleum engineering program of two or more schools, while being a frequent attendee of international conferences such as the ATCE, which I personally call “the networking heaven”, you will by now know what I am exactly talking about. Only SPE can give you the opportunity to mingle with new students (potentially future co-workers), connect with recruiters and professionals, and people of same interests who also happen to belong to the same organization. All of which should help you establish good relationships and customize your own professional network that might eventually help you to land your dream job or internship.
5. You will gain professional skills in a less formal environment.
There is no wonder that getting involved with a society revolved around your major of study, such as SPE, does not only give you hands-on experience in project management, events planning, and fundraising, but also the chance to experiment them out in a secure environment where making mistakes is actually tolerated. Everyone is there to support one another, without the fear of the fingers that will be pointed out at you if something wrong happens.
6. You will acquire leadership skills.
Being a leader in a professional student organization like SPE, will help you subconsciously improve your public speaking, boost your self-esteem, improve your ability to efficiently delegate tasks, become a better decision-maker, manage your time better, learn how to be patient, and also realize how to get best results with the limited resources you have. Your vision becomes instantly sharper, and you will find yourself leading a group of other motivated individuals, only because they trusted you, your vision, and that you are the only one who can safely lead them to the other side of the shore. Following you will be their own choice!
Unfortunately, being a leader is always associated with the negative energy of haters and other opponents who will wish if they were in your position. Jealousy and envy will be your rivals’ best friends. As much as it hurts, but this world is like a roller-coaster and the passengers can either be genuine or be hypocrite and opportunistic, with no filtration as everyone goes for the ride. It takes only a true leader to recognize the rotten apples in his/her group, and snatch them out as early as possible, before they putrefy the remaining harvest. They will fight you, try to destroy you, seek to kill your energy, and push you to dive in the depths of your despair. True leaders don’t ever give up, and they fight until the end, and guess what? You will also learn all that at SPE because the real workplace will be pretty much the same, but even wilder, so be ready for it! This can be referred to by Mrs. Lori Dalrymple who is a SPE Distinguished Lecturer and also came to USC in April to teach 5 soft skills workshops to our chapter members. I remember she gave a really interesting name to this kind of leadership. She calls it “the dark side of leadership”.
7. You will polish your résumé.
Being part of a professional organization, such as SPE, is always a great reflection on your résumé and a great indicator of your disciplined work-ethic, self-motivation, passion, and ability to handle multiple duties and responsibilities. SPE is simply that one activity you want on your résumé, in order to leave a great impression on the employer/recruiter, especially if you are targeting a job in the oil and gas industry.
8. You will give back to the community.
What is more beautiful and rewarding than serving your student organization, while simultaneously making a positive impact on the surrounding community. SPE teaches you through participation in community service events, charity drives, fundraisers, etc. that giving back to the community is not only good for the society, but also for any future business you become part of. It gives you and your company/organization the merit and that great reputable image in the eyes of other professionals both nationally and globally. All in all, it adds tremendous value to your learning experience and enhances your professional competencies.
9. You will enjoy a great time.
Last but not least, SPE gives you a constant opportunity to have fun through meeting new people and making new valuable friendships, while taking part in the chapter’s various activities, making the most value of your school experience. Taking a break from studies and the routine schoolwork by being involved with SPE is necessary and healthy for your mind. Imagine socializing with like-minded students, while being involved together in something really beneficial! And guess what? You will all learn from each other as much you would from basic academics. This is why I would like, from here, to thank SPE for giving me the chance to interact and connect with some of the brightest minds and intellectuals that I have ever met in my life, that I take huge pride in calling them “my friends”.