- Tell us about yourself
Nensi Mkrtchyan, a graduate of Marketing, French University in Armenia, class of 2020. Currently working at my Alma Mater (UFAR) as a career coordinator. Besides that, member of European networks such as Young European Ambassador and EU4Youth Alumni.
- Tell us more about your background & your college life?
Since my teenage years, I started my volunteering interest and activities in many spheres (events, NGOs, social work, etc). The main motivation was my college by promoting non-formal education platforms and trainings. That’s how again I found myself in volunteering. The only thing I clearly remember from my pioneer years as a volunteer – me being here, there, and everywhere. Absolutely, nothing can be compared with those crazy years of multitasking due to which I am who I am now. One of the things that can be brought as an example of my activities is the Facebook group of volunteers where I’ve been regularly sharing volunteering opportunities in Armenia. The group has been branded finally to Volunteam with the help of my team members. It now serves as the biggest community of volunteers in Armenia. https://www.facebook.com/groups/volunteam
- How did you rise to your position and how can a student aspiring do the same?
Upon my characteristics, I might be the one who is working in the background and still is the leader. I have never meant myself being on the top although it could have been my dream. The utmost importance was giving a hand to those who are walking with you through the same path. As the advocate of equal opportunities, my mission is to engage all and everything in one place. Then you realize, you’re in the position you wanted to become. What refers to being a student or a graduate, the difference is not a big deal. I dared to take a gap before starting my bachelor’s degree and my whole attention was finding myself as a part of the community. In the meantime, I could apply and graduate from the university which enriched my expertise and led me to a brand-new level of my professionalization.
- What inspires you in life and keeps you going?
The answer is the impact I can have on the community day by day. As a trainer, a facilitator who aims to make a change in every step, the beneficiaries or target groups that I am working with can become a source of motivation at any moment of my life. At this right time answering to this question I got a message from a youngster who got inspired from my speech during an online webinar, and she texted that she wants to be like me. What else if not being a role model for the youth, who are inspired by and vice versa?
- What is your idea of success or your mantra in life?
Don’t regret the things you have already done, but hose you didn’t do. Even the mistakes are steps you’re making to learn from. Of course, they should not repeat themselves.
- What have been some of your biggest challenges and learnings from what you do?
Speaking from the past, I had the syndrome of being the most active person everywhere, at the same time, the most irresponsible one ever. I do admit it. As I couldn’t complete the tasks or respond to calls or messages. But it was and sometimes still is the first and foremost challenge I’m trying to overcome. It’s indeed connected to my busy schedules, but If we think more profoundly, it was a result of the lacking priorities. Now, my biggest learning is to prioritize my deeds and goals for some time and lead myself to accomplish them.
- As a student, what are your tips and tricks that keep your day productive and you manage to do everything?
To be frank, I still don’t know exactly. But unfortunately, I cannot trust my inner timing as it could make me miss every deadline. Taking notes is the lifebuoy ring. That’s what I’m doing on daily basis. Unless I can forget about my tasks and meetings. The second personal trick is – multitasking. Many friends of mine can agree that having many things to do is pushing you to accomplish them in time. And why not – award yourself for every little thing that you are doing, except taking a rest! Carry on till you finally make it done!
- What did you do in your current role that makes you feel really proud of yourself?
I’m being proud to work with teams that match your character and principles. This means I have found the place I should belong to. It’s maybe also because I am very flexible everywhere. But not only. And next that makes me proud again, I might repeat myself but the influence and positive change I can bring to people and the community I am working with. This can be a bunch of students, youth or any other people.
- Tell us more about your volunteering experiences and Erasmus+ participations.
I like this part so much! Believe me or not, everything started with Erasmus+ but I did not realize it back then. Since my college years, I was studying with university students simultaneously, at the same floor and building. And there were international students coming from different universities. What could I do if not communicate with them and improve my language skills (no matter English, French, etc.). Then I remember myself taking international volunteers for city tour games and mentoring for their stay here since 2016. And that was when my Erasmus+ journey of non-formal education begins. Speaking from both formal and non-formal education perspectives, I eventually became from Erasmus+ programs participants to co-founder of Erasmus Student Network Yerevan Candidate Section. What is more engaging in here? The opportunities that this program provides might match the needs and interests of every young person aged from 13 to 30, and even more. So that is why I feel helpful even sharing the information for multiple times but to different target groups. It would be funny to say but Erasmus Rotterdam, the person whose name is symbolized with the program’s title, sometimes appears to my dreams and shares his experience. By this, I refer to how much I can get deep into explaining the nuances of the program each and every time.
Furthermore, there are many opportunities you can benefit if you are active in your community, close to the problems, and a real change-maker to solve them.
- What’s your message to encourage students to do internships and live projects?
First and foremost, make your goals clear – what or where you want to achieve? If your goal is being aside from your family which might be stressful, I recommend you to think over your future steps starting from now. After having conversations with teenagers and youngsters, I analyzed their needs which were similar to mine. My message states – try as many times as you can till you make it! But do it for yourself to see whether you’re lacking something and fix it. Of course, it’s the era of communication and you’re not alone to discuss this kind of matter with your peers. And what I mostly regret that I didn’t have anyone as a mentor whilst I was making my first steps in volunteering or internships. That’s why I am mentoring many youngsters to provide them necessary information and tools to open career and study doors. There were not many (or any at all) platforms to search for volunteering or internship opportunities. Together with my team members or friends, we tackled this or that problem to make the life of the next-generation easier. And now I plant the fruits. This generation has come and they are way more creative than us. Take this chance to be better than us for your next generation. Think beyond the limits and future.
- What skills do you think are the most important for any student and how they should obtain them?
Thanks for this question. I think this is a very good chance to convey some of my concerns regarding the capacity ideology.
Nowadays, no one can live without digital skills. I’m not talking about the social media ones (almost everyone young than me can take Tik-Tok videos I’m mostly sure about that). But let’s bring more media literacy onto the table, including creating a safe online space and spending quality time on digital communication. My advice is – join local community youth or info-centers or houses, where many nice people are teaching the basics and bridging with field gurus. If you don’t find any, group up with a team and take steps towards establishing one. I’m here to provide
Next, is taking care of the environment. This hurts my heart when I see students are not caring about the surroundings they are studying, working in. It’s no need to travel to Europe and see how clear the streets are, how eco other the citizens can be. Those who can be real examples in small communities are the ones you need to follow. For the last 2 years, I have been the only recyclist (թափոնչիկ) at my Uni, but later on, I saw everyone starting from student to the staff are asking me where to put the plastic or the bunch of papers. I think I will never get rid of my second name as թափոնչիկ, but I think it’s beautiful.
- What are your future plans?
So hard to answer this question now. I keep repeating a dream of mine every time this question is being asked. When I was 13, I had a dream to become the UN Secretary-General. I know my life and career leader is not supposed to take me there, but maybe in some decades, I still dare to dream about that.
But in case of short-term goals, they include making international career and studies as soon as possible in order to come back and invest in the future youth of my country.
- What are the top 3 tips or advice you would give to any other student to reach their dreams?
If you’re still reading me, it means I could inspire you at some point. For that reason, let me briefly name some tips below.
First off, your dreams might become a reality later than you think, but no worries. You should strengthen your resilience to achieve them step by step. So, take your time and go for your dreams.
Moreover, be communicative and share as many ideas as you have. They will find a way to be accomplished. You never know what fame it will bring you later on.
Finally, step up for yourself and for other’s rights as well. This what makes you a human and a part of society.
These were mostly lessons from my experience both as a volunteer and student which I think can be taken interchangeably.
You can connect with Nensi Mkrtchyan on:
The interview was taken by our intern: Maria Nersisyan (Linkedin = https://www.linkedin.com/in/maria-nersisyan-4702a5207/)