Aman Sayal, unlike most of his university peers, has found that elusive balance.
Juggling school, friends, family and extracurriculars as a third-year interdisciplinary medical science student, Aman feels he has a grasp on his life and he wants to share that knowledge with others.
“I try to balance school, going out, extracurriculars and family life, and I feel like once you find that happy medium everything just turns out much better,” Aman said. “If you’re too much into the books you burn out, and if you’re too much into the partying then you’re out of your program. So when I have that happy medium, I feel like I actually do better in school, I’m happier with my student experience and overall I’m just a happier person.”
Aman is an outdoors person. When he isn't watching horror movies, he's either golfing or travelling. He has travelled to over 22 different countries and is going to Thailand over the Christmas break.
He's also always been ambitious — in high school he wanted to run for student council president, but never really followed through with his plans. One late night in residence in his first year, Aman was talking to a friend about unfulfilled goals and realized a lack of soft skills prevented him from pursuing his dreams in high school.
“We didn’t really do much, outside of academics we were really focused on school. And we didn’t really know why,” said Aman. “We all had great ideas ... And we ended up getting to the point that we had all these ideas but we just never took the leadership to do something or take action on those ideas we had.”
In second year, Aman and his friends decided to start a club which would help its members develop the soft skills Aman lacked in high school.
That's how "SpeakUp" got off the ground.
One of the main ideas of SpeakUp is that leadership is innate to everyone — sometimes it just takes a bit of practice and brushing up on these skills to really highlight one’s ability. Aman defines soft skills as things like communication, leadership and confidence.
The club offers a biweekly program where members take part in activities that force them to work on these soft skills. Students will then debrief and analyze the activities so that they understand their importance. Club leaders will also be citing self-help and psychology books to add credibility to their work.
Aman has big plans for SpeakUp. He hopes to start inviting guest speakers to their meetings and maybe even introducing the club to other campuses across Canada. For now, SpeakUp is working on recruiting more people to come and check out the club.
Aman is proud of his club has accomplished so far and is excited to share his experiences with others.
"We’re able to help others where we struggled in life because all of us, we started in a place where we weren’t able to do all of these things and now we are at that place," Aman said. “[We] got the sense of gratification and satisfaction that we’re able to give back."