The Beginning But Never the End: A Journey, Reflection and Education

Words by Frank Sikalas

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My Milaana journey started the day I decided to go to a volunteer fair at the University of Queensland (UQ). I walked in and saw many different stands and organisations. As I walked past each one I noticed the interest was one sided. No one tried to capture my attention or showed interest in me. I felt lost and confused as to what was going on, after all, this was about social interaction and communication. There weren’t many welcoming faces but one definitely stood out. This happy jumping jelly bean popped out and said hello to me.

“My name’s Hollie”.

“Ah Hello, I’m Frank”

To which she replied “Nice to meet you. Let me tell you about our organisation where you’ll learn a tonne of skills, do good, and meet some amazing people.” Well that instantly drew a smile from my face and said, “Sure!” So, I gave the jelly bean my contact details and from that very moment marked the beginning of my journey with Milaana.

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Later that week, I received my first email with information and links about Milaana. A short while after receiving the first email, I sent an application and CV to join the team. I received my second email welcoming me to the organisation and after some short conversations and texts, I was invited to a Milaana dinner. A room full of energetic and like-minded people greeted me when I arrived. It was new territory for me where I faced challenges that pushed my skills but then again isn’t that the fun of creating? To push and challenge your skills so that you may develop, refine, and discover new skill sets that you didn’t know you had. The fun and challenge of a start-up or joining a start-up is called that for a reason: to create something from nothing and bring it to life watching it grow just like watching a flower blossom from a seed. This is the essence of what I learnt.

There will definitely be some lows along with the highs. With the good comes the bad, the successes and failures. It is the balance which are all part of the process. Sometimes the end of something is also part of the process, even if it is bittersweet and hard to swallow. In saying that, it is what makes it so valuable, worth creating and inspiring in the first place. It progresses, evolves, and changes into something that is sometimes completely different and unrecognisable to the original concept.

As well as the skills and experience that you gain, it is the self-development that is most valuable. It cannot be measured nor should it be but rather utilised in a self-expanding manner. To embrace the environment, the time and the interaction that occurs between you, the people you work with, and the ideas that are generated within this sphere. I relished the opportunity that I was given with Milaana and capitalised on making an impact. The impact that I made was not large-scale but it was the process of making an impact, even on just few people. You must first begin small, with a realistic expectation to be able to share, expand, and develop. You can’t expect to make ripples by throwing a heavy stone in a lake as it would a splash and the effect of it cannot be seen, so you will be following an unmarked path. However, if you throw a smaller stone or pebble, it will cause ripples that you can see and follow. A path that can be marked, seen, and followed. You must take initiative when the opportunity is given to you and run with it. Just run because anything can be accomplished through movement.

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Thank-you Frank!


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