Hi everyone! My name is Thulasheka Ravitharan and I am a student at PHS. Today, I had the pleasure to attend Illuminate x Durham’s regional conference. Here are my thoughts highlighting what I learned through the keynote speakers, workshop, and case study competition. The conference started off with our first speaker, Ilona Dougherty. She talked about how we have the notion of young people becoming something and adults being something. She went further into depth talking about how young people are more bound to come up with creative and innovative ideas compared to adults. It was eye-opening to see how much of an inspiration the youth can be. It was very encouraging to learn about Cecile Frandin and how she came about becoming as skilled and competent as the woman she is. The workshop with Mackenzie Clark was relatable yet extremely impactful. I learned about imposter syndrome and how much our mindset affects our perception of life. Our other keynote speaker, Andrea Gunraj, talked about how crucial human rights and influence are in the growing society of youths. She made me realize that whoever you choose to influence your life will change the way you perceive things. The most stressful segment of today’s conference was the case study competitions. Despite feeling anxious throughout the presentation, it was encouraging to see how different everyone else’s solutions were, given that we were all handed the same case. Near the end of the conference, Alina Huang (Founder of Illuminate Universe) had said something that stuck with me. She said, “Especially during these times when the world is moving fast, it's up to us to catch up with the future and invest in ourselves. All we need to do is take the first step”. This stuck out to me due to the sole fact I could relate and influence that into my very own life. Taking small steps, having the right mindset, navigating through people, and being mindful of what I put my time into are a few of the many things I walked out with from this experience.
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