DOSA and Headless Chickens

1 Feb

I recently read a very good article written by Isabelle Laskari and published on the ArtsHub website. This article actually offers careers advice to someone who wants to work in the arts industry. But I think that this article is also very relevant toDOSA at the moment.

The article offers 5 main pieces of advice:

“1. Think carefully about what you want most out of your career.”

OK,DOSAis not developing a career. But DOSAis developing itself as a group. DOSA is at a stage where it needs to think carefully about what it wants in the future. The author of this article goes on to say “Perhaps the thing that most stands in the way of people accomplishing their… goals is that they don’t… really give it enough thought.” Many overseas students are intelligent and thoughtful individuals. The overseas students involved inDOSAneed to make sure that DOSA’s goals, plans and actions are also the result of intelligence and thought.

“2. Refine your skills…there’s sure to be something you could do a little better.”

Overseas students are talented and clever – you are all here doing tertiary study after all! And you are all resourceful – organizing your life so that you can live and study in another country is an achievement all by itself. What skills do you have that you would like to improve on?

“3. Learn from others.”

During 2012, DOSAwill be focusing on developing itself as a strong student organization. This means that DOSAwill need to use the skills of the overseas students who become a part of DOSA. But it also means that DOSA needs to make sure that those students have the skills and confidence to run a student organisation. During 2012, DOSAwill offer overseas students opportunities to refine existing skills and to learn new skills from others.

“4. Build your professional network.”

There are many individuals and groups who can support DOSA, and help it to become a strong group with strong chances of survival.

“5. Organise yourself.”

There is an old Australian saying – “running around like headless chooks*” – that is used to describe people who are disorganized. DOSAneeds to spend time creating good systems in administration, organization and communication. As a group, we need to make sure that we are coordinated and clear about what each individual is doing. If we are not coordinated and if we don’t set goals and plan, the risk is that we could become involved, at random, in activities that require us to spend a lot of time and energy. These random activities might not actually help us learn new skills or survive in the future. We might end up looking like a headless chook – lots of rushing around and energetic movement. But like a bird without a head, this flapping about will get us nowhere and achieve nothing.

I like this article because it maps out a plan:

  • Think
  • Refine / Learn
  • Build networks
  • Organise

I think the trick is to make time for all of this. Life can be so busy and rushed, especially for overseas students who have to balance study, work, friends and family as well as learning about living in a new country. As project worker, I am only paid to work for DOSA for 18 hours per week, which is not a lot of time.

First of all, if we want DOSAto survive and prosper then we have to be determined to make time to think. During 2012, DOSAwill be organizing some opportunities for overseas students to come together, share some ideas, set some goals and think out a plan. This plan will help us to make time and opportunities to learn, network and organize.

This will be interesting work. Get involved. It will provide a workout for your brain and your imagination. You will meet great people, have some passionate discussions, and go to some fun events. Your skills and confidence will develop. DOSAexists for overseas students – help it to be all it can be. It is something you can put your heart and soul into, knowing that you are also creating a student organization that can help other overseas students.

‘Resolve to fix your New Year career’:

*chooks = Australian slang for chickens



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