Journal #2: Đầu xuôi đuôi lọt – A Good Beginning is Half the Battle

Whoever first said that getting started is the hardest part seriously was not kidding.

Don’t get me wrong– I knew what I was in for when I applied to be culture coordinator. I knew how much work was involved and I was ready to take on the responsibility.

What I wasn’t ready for was how daunting it would be to look at this production, which is not unlike a $30,000 knot of yarn, and try to figure out where I should begin to detangle this darn thing.

At first it seems like a no-brainer– obviously, you have to get the script out of the way. But before the deadline for the script is the deadline for hiring staff, for finding producers, for the first couple of funding applications; it’s this whole mess of things that seem to add up into one big ball of stress.

Thankfully, with my producers on board, it’s a little easier to delegate tasks and to get the ball rolling. Picking my producers was difficult as I was torn between a few qualified people, but in the end I made my decision and I’m pretty happy with it. We’ve been working on our mission statement and on defining our goals for VCN, and it’s definitely been helpful for brainstorming as well.

Speaking of which, that’s an entirely different monster. I realized a few weeks ago what I’m about to do– I’m about to sit down and write a two-hour play. That’s crazy. It just blows my mind. I’ve written short story upon short story in the past, but never any sort of screenplay. It’s intimidating, and it’s daunting, and it’s ridiculously exciting all at the same time.

It’s also been difficult outreaching for positions. I am not the kind of person who likes to ask people to do things, which is why I have a tendency to let things pile up on me. I don’t like asking others to do things if I know they are busy, and so outreaching is another monster for me. Thankfully, I’ve been able to secure some staff who are willing to help me out. It’s such a relief when I finally get someone who’s willing to do something on staff.

At the same time, on top of all of the VCN duties, I have to remember my duties as a student leader in the Vietnamese Student Union as well. If you didn’t know, VCN is a project under VSU that is commissioned by one of the Four Pillars (cultural, political, social, and educational coordinators). VCN, obviously, is commissioned by the Cultural Coordinator, which is me. The political coordinator takes care of events such as the Black April commemoration; social takes care of general meetings and other social activities; educational takes care of High School Conference, SEA Admit Weekend, and SEATED.

It’s been draining, as I’ve had to not only find time to work on VCN between work and personal life but also between staff meetings and retreats for VSU board and all-leadership (which includes SEACLEAR staff and HOPE staff). It’s definitely a lot more than I expected.

With the school year starting, I’ll be juggling 12 units, VSU board, VCN, and my own mental health. It’s a challenge, definitely, but I’m hoping that I’ll be able to work things out with the power of strong delegation and reliable staff.

Speaking of mental health, that is the theme of this year’s VCN– specifically, depression. With my own struggles with mental health, I recognize that it is very easy to ignore one’s mental health and simply continue trekking along as always. It’s easy to push off one’s “me” time or ignore the signs of a faltering mental state when under pressure. It’s easy to let it all build up.

What I aim to accomplish with this VCN is to show ways that the average student can manage his or her mental state. It’s not just about your support system but also about finding help outside of it when you need it, especially if things are getting out of hand very quickly.

As always, I will work to fulfill not just everyone’s expectations of this VCN but to make sure that this VCN fits my vision in providing those struggling with their mental health the resources and the knowledge to be able to manage it.

Chân thành,

Sarah Ho

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