Author: Mila Vargas
Starting out as a member of YABs I was a little shy and a little scared, but a lot excited to begin something that has been one of the best opportunities of my life so far. At first, I was definitely daunted by this new environment. I remember walking into the first meeting and thinking everyone seemed so confident and comfortable with each other, I wondered when I'd be like that too. As the months and years passed I'm glad to say that so did my apprehension and I grew to love being a part of YABs. The group of strangers I had joined in 2017 became some of my favourite faces to see around. With them, I was able to have a voice and help others to use theirs too. I learnt how to survey members of the public and facilitate group discussions, I became more confident, and more aware of the inner-workings of the Monash community. All of this takes us to 2020 when, after 3 awesome years of memories and opportunities, I decided it was time for me to leave YABs. At that point it just felt right, and I found myself looking for places where I could take the skills I had learnt from my time with YABs and develop them further. This is when I ended up being pointed in the direction of another group whose focus also centred around empowering youth to use their voices and be active in the community, the Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic).
Through YACVic I had the opportunity to appear on Q & A as a member of the audience and ask a question. Honestly, it was an eye-opening experience and something I won't be forgetting anytime soon. I expected the lights and the cameras, but what came as a surprise was how welcoming everyone seemed to be. But, despite all of the smiles and laughter as soon as the camera started rolling back came the nerves. Luckily, I got to ask my question first and although I can't remember exactly what the answers were, I can remember the sense of relief I felt immediately after I was done speaking. Ultimately, my night at the ABC studio reminded me how important it is that young people are represented in the conversations we have about our country. Because through using our voices we too can have a hand in shaping our nation's future.
Watch the Q&A clip here: