A time period where we all have a question about job security. A time period where everyone has a question about what their next destination is and how their future looks like...
That, is the biggest question an undergraduate of any kind has during their academic tenure. After studying at a state university for four long years and waiting patiently to become a warrior, a breadwinner and support their family and the nation as a product of free education; it, of course, put a considerable amopunt of weight on our shoulders.
I have met my peers who did not see a good opportunity in sight; I have met my own ayyala and akkala who struggled to find a job while facing their final examinations; and all of them have one common goal to secure a good place to work, and be a stable human being and support their ecosystems.
And this story is all about a shining step a set of undergraduates kept together - working days and nights to pull off a career fair, which is none other than the official career fair of University of Moratuwa, "Are You Ready" or, as we called it, RuR.
"ARE YOU READY?" is the Official Career Fair of University of Moratuwa, an annual event that brings together over 1000 of our university's best undergraduates to meet and be recruited by the country's biggest companies. For the past 26 years, Rotaract Club of University of Moratuwa has had the honor of taking on this massive project and defining it to provide the best support to the final year undergraduates. RuR is never a soft or an easy project to put up overnight. The project typically includes several important and complex parts, where undergraduate and company coordination, partnerships, logistics, finance, and IT, acts as few major components of the show! Because of the project's scope and the large number of undergraduates and businesses that are being involved, it usually requires a volunteer base of more than 200 individuals. This endeavor has consistently revealed the hidden skills of the contributors while making a significant impact on the lives of final-year undergraduates of the university every passing year.
It has been THREE amazing years with RuR! - And here’s how I define the show;
Being a part of this massive venture from the first year of my university life; as a company coordinator (as well as a chair of the subproject Image) in the first year, as an organizing committee member in the second year, and as a president in my third year, I have seen ups and downs of the project which at the end turned out to be the best show of the respective year. RuR used to be the place where everybody in the club worked together and did their best for the final years. RuR has always been the place where so many first-years, second-years, and third-years of the university come together to color the career dreams of final-year undergraduates. That is the beauty of RuR. That is the Are you Ready I saw. Literally, it let the volunteers work with the cooperates, create and develop themselves to be the best version of themselves and so much more. There is a saying by Richard M. Nixon that states “The finest steel has to go through the hottest fire”. Staying true to that saying, for the past three years, I have seen the self-development of the committee and every contributing undergraduate after being a part of Are You Ready.
Coming back to the story - so what happened in "Are You Ready? 2021"?
At the beginning of the year, the biggest question Manul (VP PD and for sure immediate past RUR chair) and I had was about the timeline of the project and who would be there to take up the task. Because of the pandemic and the other internal factors within the university, we had to struggle to find a date to place this on the university calendar. Moving on with fixing a solid frontline, with no second thoughts, we were able to have Bimsara Jr. aka Bimbi ( Co-Director PD), Ravindu aka Ravi Jay (Co-Director Club Services), and Ranul aka Mr. Kiribath (Co-Director IT) as the chairpersons for the 26th episode of RuR.
From the first day onwards, the hard work came onto the shoulders of the chairs and the OC. Due to the pandemic, most companies have frozen their recruitments. Thus the team had to give their best effort for months, and in the end, all their hard work paid off with 50+ companies on board.
After doing a lot of brainstorming for a couple of months, the team was able to come up with the final grand show from the 15th to the 18th of February. To be honest, these days were picked after postponing the schedules two to three times. The entire team was privileged to be at Hilton Colombo Residencies for five days to pull of the grand show, thanks to Aunty Thushani, Uncle Haroon, and Uncle Aneesha from Rotary West. (believe me, those days were never too stiff for the entire team.)
As a president, I saw the team's energy as well as the pressure the chairs had. But trust me, every single person did their best to deliver Are You Ready? 2021 in the grandest possible way for the 26th time. It is hard to concentrate and do the entire work load of a project of this scope in a virtual environment, and without proper facilities, it will be the hardest. Let me make this a spot to appreciate our awesome IT peeps, who came up with the novel edition of the RuR platform with several updates, which served as the heart of the career fair. Literally, it facilitated all the requirements of a virtual career fair and made things easier for all stakeholders. (for sure, this results in much more minor issues and less number of calls than the previous year) Also, during this year's virtual walkthrough, I saw a smooth transition in all stations of the career fair.
All of these efforts from a number of sleepless nights, days and days of planning, thousands of calls, deep-down discussions, and arguments [only between a FEW ;)] made the story of the virtual career thousand times more energetic. After several months of hard work, it resulted in more than 1500 interviews being held for 650+ undergraduates. With the collaboration of 52 corporate companies and 202 corporate professionals, one of the biggest virtual career fairs was executed.
While we at Rotaract Mora are extremely proud of our accomplishment, this was something we wanted to do to honor our university's undergraduate students. We admire everything they've accomplished by going through the conventional Sri Lankan educational system and graduating as the country's top grads. They are the ones who can build our country and move us ahead because of their years of hard work and dedication. They are our sisters and brothers, and they deserve nothing less than our best efforts to make this career fair a reality.
On an ending note, I may say like this. The days of the final show were hectic. The air was filled with a hustle and bustle 24*7. Amidst all these, at the end of each day, the team had so much passion left to throw some eggs at each other, go to the plaza at 2.00 O’clock in the morning, babysit each other and spend sleepless hours with horror movies. So, why should we call this a hectic show anymore when we have a bunch of blissful memories to reminisce.
Now that the storm has passed, we're grateful for this episode of "Are You Ready?". Because it has helped us push our boundaries and most importantly, it has given us numerous lessons along the way. All the collected memories will be in our hearts, and in several years, we will have a story to tell. At the end of the day, it is a dream. A dream of our own undergraduates, a dream of a club, and most importantly, a dream to fly higher and conquer the world and emerge as the warriors who fought for our very own brothers and sisters. It is an effort of undergraduates, an effort of a set of Rotaractors to write a story that will go on and on for many more years to come.