Should you join your alumni association?

Your days in school and college may be some of the most memorable moments in your life but now that you’ve been working for a few years, have you ever thought about reconnecting to your alma mater?

One of the ways for you to reconnect could be to catch up with long-lost friends, who you’ve probably rediscovered through social media networks like Facebook or messaging services like WhatsApp, but another way could be by joining the alumni association of your school or college.

Apart from reliving the nostalgic moments of your life as a student though, alumni associations could offer you a lot more benefits that you may not have thought of.

Widen your network

As the members of your alumni association would be made up of a diverse group of people, your network will definitely be much wider by joining. This could be especially useful if your work forces you to be based in a new town or city. It’s not just great for your social life; the benefits could extend to your professional life as well, as your fellow members would be able to offer you guidance and advice for your career, especially those in the same industry as you’re in.

Boost your career

Apart from offering invaluable guidance and advice for your career, some of your fellow alumni association members may actually be able to provide you with opportunities that you would probably not have even known about. This is especially true when some of your fellow members could be in a position to assist in improving your career prospects, either through the help of their own extensive network or as decision-makers in their respective organisations.

Give back to your alma mater

Joining an alumni association should not just be about how it could help you progress personally; it should also be about giving you the opportunity to give back to your school or university. Contributing to your alma mater could be in many forms and could include becoming more active in alumni activities or providing moral or financial support to the alumni in its efforts to help the school or university.

Contribute to your community

Some of the activities organised by your alumni could even extend beyond just helping your alma mater. These endeavours could be in the field of sports, education or health and this will give you an opportunity to contribute towards improving lives in your community.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2yhTzQG

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Leveraging on open data

(Above) The home page of the Sarawak Open Data platform, which can be accessed at https://data.sarawak.gov.my/.

At the recent International Digital Economy Conference Sarawak (IDECS) 2018, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg launched the Sarawak Open Data platform.

It was designed to give people access to open government datasets for research, application development, and other purposes.

Sarawak’s Open Government Data platform will now be a part of the hundreds of open data initiatives available around the world.

They are usually developed at different levels, from country-level open data such as Australia, India, and Malaysia, to cities like Buenos Aires, London, and Vancouver, and even individual agencies or sectors such as government agencies in the United States.

Open data is meant to be used, reused, and shared with anyone without restrictions, and while its concept isn’t new, it has become more defined and important in stimulating a country’s economy through digital advancement.

Numerous studies have highlighted the values of open data; for instance, improving efficiency and effectiveness of public services, and building better relations between the government and citizens through transparency, accountability, and engagement.

Here are some other benefits from leveraging on this largely untapped resource:

Makes research less tedious

Finding information through an open data is more convenient because it can be accessed from a single platform at any time, making it easier for academics, the public sector, industries, and students to gather necessary facts and figures during their research.

As the data gets updated, analysing their trends and changes also becomes less cumbersome since both old and new information can be found in one location.

Drives innovation

Reusing and combining information from different datasets in the open data can lead to greater potential in the development of new products, services, and applications, or improvement of existing ones.

In fact, open data has been a means to encourage innovation through the promotion of its usage as seen from the likes of competitions, hackathons, and datathons.

Fosters entrepreneurship

Whether in fulfilling unmet needs or solving problems that can uplift community wellbeing, aspiring entrepreneurs that are in need of information can use the open data to further understand their potential target market.

Entrepreneurs and general users can also provide feedback to data providers regarding the data they are using or data they hope to see in the future, thereby increasing the demand for more enhanced open data.

Creates new jobs

As the digital economy progresses, the need for more open data professionals will increase as a result of jobs created from more open data initiatives or data-driven organisations.

Sarawak, in particular, hopes to develop data-driven technologies that can enhance major sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing in order to spur the state’s overall economic growth.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2LfuyKZ

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Ask away!

To thrive in a digital economy, we need to be innovative and creative, and that requires the habit of asking questions.

Making it a habit isn’t very hard, but sometimes we find ourselves unwilling to ask questions – perhaps because we don’t think it’s necessary (apathy) or we feel we know ‘enough’ (overconfidence), or we don’t want to appear rude, weak, ignorant and unsure (fear) by asking ‘stupid’ questions.

Yet, asking questions is essential in innovation and entrepreneurship because it’s an effective way to find and identify issues that would come to define the nature of our product, service, or overall business.

Moreover, as we become more dependent on technology in our daily lives, it’s always helpful to know how the apps or devices we use function aside from knowing the basics.

For instance, if we’re not sure how to maintain our smartphones, we can find out with questions such as “How do we ensure our phone is always in good condition?” or “Why do some apps consume more power and space?” or “How can we protect our phone from being hacked?”

Beyond just answers, asking the right questions can bring about other benefits:

A better understanding

Asking a combination of open-ended and detailed questions can lead to answers that clarify your doubts about a process, situation or issue.

The more in depth these answers are, the clearer your understanding becomes, and that can improve your critical thinking, decision-making and problem-solving skills.

A more open mind

Making ‘questioning’ a habit, particularly when talking to people of different cultures and values, can broaden your knowledge, especially as you listen to their points of view without prejudgment.

This is also applicable to your tackling of new topics because it encourages new exploration and insight.

By keeping an open mind, your brain becomes more flexible, thereby enabling you to absorb and access information more easily.

A greater sense of empathy

Gaining new perspectives can also strengthen your empathy, particularly in being aware of the nature of professionals from different fields.

For example, non-IT individuals will be able to identify with IT professionals by considering their work function and process.

This is because, despite their highly technical proficiency, IT professionals need time to produce the likes of apps and software, given that these products don’t develop overnight.

A better lifelong learner

Above all, asking questions and finding answers constantly helps to boost your learning ability, and even enables you to be more aware of yourself.

This is due to your willingness to take the time to learn about a subject in depth, making you an active learner instead of a passive observer.

So, make it a habit to ask the right questions so that you can become a more capable individual.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Za man Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2Fp97TA

Image Source: Inspiration Bits

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Why we should strive to stay fit and healthy

In our studies or career, we sometimes tend to push ourselves beyond our physical, mental and emotional limits, thinking that we’re capable of overcoming any and all challenges.

As a result, our health and wellbeing end up taking the brunt of this push, and our bodies are forced to endure stresses that can be detrimental in the long haul.

Still, it’s never too late to start our journey to become healthy and with time, patience and commitment, incorporating healthy habits into our lifestyle is attainable.

If you think that adopting a healthy lifestyle is just about trying to look good or to lose the extra weight, you should think about the bigger benefits it brings.

Gain more energy

Last year, a workplace survey conducted by AIA Vitality showed that despite working long hours, Malaysians are the least productive.

The survey found that their low productivity resulted from a lack of proper diet, exercise and sleep, as well as experiences with work-related stress.

This suggests that our performance at work and in life is dependent on our energy level accumulated from what we eat, how active we are physically, how long we sleep, and how we manage stress.

Therefore, it’s vital to take care of yourself so that you have enough energy to handle whatever tasks at hand.

Build confidence

Establishing a healthy lifestyle can involve setting goals for improvement, for instance eating certain healthy food for the first time or running at a distance further than your previous record.

Besides the physical benefits, achieving these goals will help to boost your confidence and self-esteem, thereby strengthening your mental and emotional health.

Numerous studies have also shown that having healthy habits ensure a healthy brain by reducing stress and risk of depression, plus improve learning, judgement and thinking capabilities.

Save money

Practising healthy habits boosts overall health, meaning you could lower your chances of having cardiovascular disease, hypertension and other life-threatening illnesses.

This also means that you can keep your healthcare expenses down, allowing you to have sufficient finances for other commitments like bill payments or pleasures like travel.

Live for the future

Above all, staying fit and healthy is about your longevity. It means having more time to achieve your life goals, be it succeeding in your studies and career, or establishing your own business.

Accomplishing this, however, requires prioritising and being responsible for your own health and wellbeing.

So, eat right, get moving, sleep well and don’t take your health for granted.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2Bj3O69

Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom from Pexels.

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