My Road to MEPI

My journey towards this summer program as well as some helpful tips.

My fellow TBSers it is a great delight to share with you parts of my last 3 years at university. I am Nouha Salhi, a senior majoring in Business Analytics and minoring in International Political Economy. I am equally a MEPI Student Leaders Alumni. In this article, I will be sharing with you my road towards this summer program as well as some helpful tips.

By the start of freshman year, I practically had no experience in civic engagement nor have I taken any leadership position. I still can not explain the amazement I felt at our Welcome Day when hearing about inspirational TBS Alumni and Clubs’ leaders. I was there in my corner overwhelmed by the quality of the speakers wondering if I ever will make it the way those people did.

My very first inspiration was Enactus back then. So, I joined the team. My aspirations were to make social entrepreneurship a thing in Tunisia, which is something I am still working on, and to make it big in the National & the Worldwide Enactus Competition.

The year after I have been selected as the Vice President of my department and I thought I have reached my climax. Yet things did not work well for me so I had to quit. Now I am voicing my thoughts to you dear strangers because this for me is a turning point.

After that big disappointment, I had to figure out my way back in this very arena. And I did, by joining the new clubs MERIT & IRC IIDebate, co-founding the Youth Regional Council of Bizerte and TBS Amentia Club, co-organizing numerous events, and by participating in various entrepreneurship competitions.

At this point, you might be thinking that my list was getting checked once and for all. In my case, I only started getting anxious while going through my own dilemmas. For managing to get straight As along with a full commitment to extracurriculars would be an uncanny knack. And I am no superhero, I just had to settle for being a B student.

As for the ultimate moment, we are not quite there yet. Since freshman year I have been applying for the US Embassy’s summer programs. In my freshman and sophomore years, I did apply for the SUSI on women’s leadership. I made it twice to the interviews but I was not shortlisted. During the same summer I even gathered a team to start a new project on campus, we actually had high expectations about that one but we “failed”.

Now for me, this was extremely saddening but then I had the conversation with my parents telling me that I have to reassess my priorities, that I am wasting my time, my money and my career on trifle things. They told me that this is not the way I would win big or make any achievements. But at that exact moment my inner revolution unfolded. I knew I had to prove I am right.

In my Junior year, I first applied for SUSI on Social Entrepreneurship, got selected for the interviews but as usual did not make it. Honestly, I even started wondering: “So okay, I am good… Of that I’m sure. But maybe I am just not good enough! Are these programs even worth it?”. Little did I know…

Although I wiped exchange programmes off my list, an Alumna from 2k17 urged me to register because I “have the required MEPI profile”, she said. So I did send the application just by the deadline (which I would not recommend). And it was my tipping point.

The thing about international experiences is that they put you in a state of awe and contemplation. All of a sudden you just start unravelling your own mysteries, digging into the essence of your soul and shaping your own portrait. My MEPI journey would not fit into one article as I made sure to have a very unusual experience. But here is my biggest takeaway:

Strive to thrive.

Change and success are long processes. It is simply impossible to skip parts or to oversee the End. But also one should always choose his people as alliances give you an absolute advantage in the game.

To put it in a nutshell, just freestyle! Pre-plan but never stick to any restrictive list. Because everyone at TBS has a very different story at the end. And remember disappointment is genuinely part of the process. So if you have any shadow of a doubt just leave it behind and look for your “right” options.

For all those interested in applying to MEPI Student Leaders Program this link would be extremely useful.

Best of luck!