When did you join the ESN? Why? What was your motivation?

I joined our section in November 2011. I found out about ESN thanks to the parties organised by ESN-EYE. By that time I already heard that Erasmus Students tend to create an amazing atmosphere. End those French guys…. The party was amazing, I conducted an investigation to find out who organised it, and then I decided to find out if my University has such an organisation too.


Breakthrough moment in your Newbie career?

Shortly after becoming a Newbie, my section received an additional spot for Upgrade in Białystok. After receiving a welcome pack I came around the ESN dictionary. The great amount of abreviations. All those events and Pallomeri. It was my first sight at ESN as an international organisation. At the same meeting I took part in training prepared by Ania Seweryn. Shortly after that training I decided I want to be like her someday.


General breakthrough moment in ESN?

I don’t have one breakthrough moment. My development in ESN is proceeding very slowly and in the most natural pace possible. Every single new experience comes right after another, but if I had to specify the most important moment, I think it would be taking over the function of local HR manager, and following that becoming a chair of HR committee and becoming a Eduk8 trainer.


What are you the most proud of in your ESN career?

Despite my strong motivation to work in ESN, being appreciated by the others makes me proud of my work the most. For example receiving an amazing souvenir from my committee during the presentation at National Platform in Lublin. I am very proud of that we were able to form a fantastic team with great work environment and do tasks assigned to HR Committee, I believe that it is a dream not only of every HR manager, but moreover a dream of every lider.


 Did you have any doubts ? What? When? Why? How did you deal with them?

Not always everything goes perfectly and you can do your best performance for couple of years straight. The first moment I recall is when I came back to Poland from my Erasmus exchange and I couldn’t find myself in my ESN section. Before I left I was in local board, after I came back I had to find my place in ESN all over again. During one semester I experienced being the ESNer focused on Erasmus students, and after that  I was already looking for some new responsibilities.

The next stage, when I was lacking motivation. There were moments when I didn't feel satisfied about my work in HR committee. What helped me then was meeting other members of the committee. I believe that working remotely can sometimes be difficult and unsatisfying, especially when you don’t know people you’re sharing your docs with ;)

I have to admit that before each UPGRADE I had sudden drops of my strength. It is a great project in which many things can happen. For couple of days I was convinced that after the Upgrade finishes, I will never undertake such a thing ever again. I think that for times like this the best remedy is the support from people from my surroundings, such as Ania, Upgrade trainers and both previous OC’s that I collaborated with in the past. Of course by the time that convention started,  all those negative emotions were already gone and I couldn’t wait for the next UPGRADE! This year I also had better and worse moments, but when Ania is a mentor of your board, it is really difficult to get stressed for a longer period of time. The support from KOPIKO is also invaluable.


How would you rate development of our association  during the time you are its member?

I joined ESN I in the same time when I started my studies so I did not only develop from ESN point of view but moreover throughout my whole academic career and semester abroad. Surely, I can say that I developed my soft-skill competencies, which I pursue to develop every single day, but I believe that I also acquire many hard-skill competences. Apart from those from my field which are connected with recruitment process and trainings, I also improved my technological competences, which are crucial for my current work. I also believe that a strong advantage is that my studies still encouraging me to pursue my ESN career. I often use my knowledge I acquire during my studies in my ESN work, and complement my academic knowledge with my experiences from ESN. If I had to name one capability I gained thanks to this organisation, it would surely be the broad meaning of leadership.


Do you find ESN experience useful in your work life or private life?

Of course! Work, Internship, apprenticeship.. all the chances I received due to my English language knowledge and my cool experiences in ESN I can put into my CV. I don’t remember single recruiter who didn’t ask me about that. Truth be told, recently the recruiter was more focused on my career work, but when it got to the interview with the manager, he was strongly interested in my ESN career, considering he knew all about ESN!


What ESN has changed in your life?

It would be easier to answer other way around. It didn’t change my fondness for sleeping, traveling and TV series. ESN convinced me to stop wasting my time of studying and motivated to start next studies. It gave me the idea for my future career, a chance of self-development, improving my experiences,  building my self confidence and stepping out of my comfort zone. It may sound a bit cliche, but thanks to ESN I met a lot of amazing, inspiring people.


What function did you have in ESN?

In my section I was a local HR, right after that I became a member of sectional Audit Committee, in which I am working with the fourth board now. Also for a year I was a local representative. In association I was a chair of HR committee and member of a development and research team (famous and mythical ZBiR!) Now I am also an Alumni coordinator. On an international level I am a member of HR and NEC ( i was working on e-learning platform) Eduk8 trainer


What was your biggest ESN failure, what didn’t you manage to achieve, even though you wanted to?

I have a whole list of unrealised ideas! But all the time I’m telling myself that maybe I can still do them. On the other hand, my biggest failure is not being able to use the potential of mentor program during its first edition.


If you could redo something in ESN, what would it be?

Training event! Mainly because it’s so much fun, and every single next training trip is better than the one before.


Where do you think you would be if it wasn’t from ESN?

I have a huge imagination, but it’s not that huge! It’s almost like doing something else with 20% of your life. If I had to chose, I would say that I would join AIESEC ;)


Were you prepared enough, when you were taking over your first function? Did you know what were you about to experience?

I am a coward, so if I agree to something it means that I feel well prepared to pursue it. With a clear conscience I can say that neither of functions I had disappointed me in any way. Paradoxically, my biggest sink or swim was taking over my present function of Alumni coordinator, strictly because this is a completely new matter for me.


What would you call nicest memory from your cadency?

Every single time when at ESN event we come around the ESN dance. It’s rather a small detail, but it gives me a strong feeling of affiliation to an amazing organisation!


Karolina Sikorska