A decent amount of our day-to-day conversations is about discussing problems. That tells us – no, not that our society is too pessimistic – rather that each one of us is constantly fighting against some sort of discomfort. This struggle can consume us entirely and leave no room for simple pleasures in our lives – no space for a hasteless breakfast or peaceful 30 minutes of our favorite series before bed (think of one such sacred routine wish of your own!) As a result, we are left destitute of sources of mental energy.
Akin to army generals, we are always in search for ways to reinforce our positions. And we better be searching, other ways we risk ending up dry on resources amid deadlines and final exams of the year or mere moments before an important public presentation.
Speaking of the art of war, strategy is something to think through as well. A ‘one man army’ approach to ourselves is very attractive – it is supported by the heroic stories of our nations’ most honorable and is undoubtedly quite romantic. But how does it affect our lives?
We get used to not leaning on anyone for help, used to straying away from intimate connections. We stop sharing our concerns with others. From early childhood, we are taught to stay endlessly vigilant not to miss any threats from people that surround us. Friendship means nothing, people are cowardly and can betray; society is but a crowd that is not capable of empathy. A crowd, which you have to avoid not to be stomped on during its next hysteria over some political topic or a stupid trend from social media.
And here we have our XXI century – the era of division and loneliness; the century of the harshest crisis; the recovery from which doesn’t console us anymore; the century of the most harmful falls that continue to disappoint us, even though we try to prepare ourselves for the next ‘all-time low’.
…Oh, yeah, this article was supposed to be an uplifting one about the Hult Prize! Excuse me for this plunge into grim thoughts, but sometimes you have to face your most feared ideas in order to figure out what you want to avoid in life;)
In our story alongside the Hult Prize, we have found (per aspera…) one power capable of saving the world in its current state – the power of community.
Community – the thing that so many are in desperate need of. It is the understanding from our colleagues at work or from the people we study with, the freedom to share our worries in regards to the latest news. Moreover, it is the difference between a dull, dragged-out Zoom conference and an entertaining, enjoyable one.
Community is in the words of compassion from our relatives and a simple ‘I love you’. Community is kind and ‘Wish you good health!’ from the neighbor and in the sympathetic tone of the cashier at a shop next to your university. Community is the ability to relax not only at home but on your way there as well – in the metro, while on the bus or in a taxi.
Community is the freedom to exchange bright smiles with a passerby and feel like you are a part of something bigger together. That is the power of community. The power, which can strengthen every one of us; which can move mountains and fight off any disease that hits humanity.
There were a few guys in our team of Hult Prize on Campus at ITMO University organizers who passionately corrected everyone who referred to Hult Prize solely as ‘case championship’. Though we had a decent amount of laughs from their unstoppable drive to defend the idea of Hult Prize from such simplification, they were right in a sense. And it was even more justified than they imagined.
Because the Hult Prize is, first of all, an international community of enormous scale. And a community of university students – the most energetic and active people in the world.
Aside from the invaluable experience of interaction with the most serious global problems in an unsophisticated way, Hult Prize teaches people a way of being just a little bit closer to each other – a way of combining our individual efforts in the fight against great troubles of our time.
It may just be so that every student that has an encounter with Hult Prize will realize where he or she needs to look for those long-awaited reinforcements in their mental struggles. Maybe, because of our movement more people start understanding that the ‘lone wolf’ stance in life is not the choice that can lead humanity to a better tomorrow.
And maybe, the Hult Prize with the valuable lessons that it tries to share about the importance of communities can help heal our XXI century from all its vicious illnesses. Only one thing can help us in this fight, can give us a cooperative immunity – a community.
By Maksimov Danila