Student Spotlight – Dite B.
Hometown: Liverpool, U.K.
Areas of Global Interest: International Law
Class at School: History, perhaps surprisingly!
Book: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Food: If it’s a special occasion, I’m definitely eating Pho Ga
Quote: ‘There is first the literature of knowledge, and secondly, the literature of power. The function of the first is to teach; the function of the second is to move.’ – Thomas De Quincey
I can trace my interest back to an initial curiosity about isolated populations and their interactions with the nation-state within whose jurisdiction they are determined to be. I remember reading about the North Sentinelese people who are notoriously hostile to outsiders and I was fascinated to learn about how such populations operate (if they do at all) within the laws of their respective country. Thus, I learned about just how interdisciplinary law really is, which is a massive draw to a student who genuinely enjoyed every subject; law contains within it aspects of anthropology, history, geography, and many other areas besides. Law definitely informs my goals, especially in an academic sphere. Law is what I hope to study when I begin university in September 2020 as I think studying it is the best way to enact the change I hope to in the world. It is a subject people are always told to avoid as it is “too competitive” but who I am as a person has been shaped by a determination to prove that someone is going to make it – so you should do your best to be that person.
We heard that you founded your school’s Law Society, congratulations! Can you tell us more about that?
It is currently something in the works as I hope to encourage discussion between those who are interested in the subject, perhaps wanting to study it at university. I have been fortunate enough to find lots of very beneficial resources and events and hope to direct people towards them, and I know that others have done different work experience, read different books, and these are all things we can share with one another! At the moment I am working to provide support for another girl in attending, and getting a bursary for, a summer school which I did last year. It felt to me as if there were countless opportunities for medicine and STEM which are, of course, important subjects too, but I was ardent to start a support network for people with interests like mine.
You have also helped to start numerous other projects at your school such as a literary magazine and an Amnesty International chapter. What advice do you have for other students who may be interested in starting a club or school-wide project at their school?
Like-minded peers are your greatest asset and your greatest source of support! If you are very lucky, you will already know people who share your passion for your cause and you can rally a group to promote your idea for a club or project. If not, do not let that put you off. I believe initiative is one of the most inspiring qualities you can see in others and one which is likely to bring more members and helpers. There are countless opportunities I would have missed out on if I had been afraid of doing it alone, not necessarily just in the context of starting a project. It is also crucial not to define the success of your club on membership numbers, but rather on the personal fulfillment it gives you and those who participate. Find the person you are supposed to talk to them and speak to them about it in person – it is far easier to convey enthusiasm when the staff member or teacher who you are asking to help you can see your interest as you tell them about it face-to-face.
In addition to your studies, you are a volunteer librarian. Where did your love of literature come from?
Originally, literature was the main way I learned English when I did not have the confidence to speak to others and I do not think I enjoyed it all that much! When I started, I would get so wound up over being unable to score highly in my work, it was not until my mother made me analyze Ted Hughes’ The Thought Fox that I think I finally realized why people write. I think the phrases “This is pointless.” and “Why do people write poetry, though?” escaped my mouth that evening. I related to the happiness and sadness and other emotions of people I would never meet as we all outlined our own little part of what is the universal human experience. I was captivated by how people who had led such different lives to mine could write about things from their own perspectives and I could actually empathize with them. I learned that the vision I had of them as people I would never meet was not strictly true as I got to meet writers David Almond and Imtiaz Dharker when I won a poetry competition myself several years after that fateful night!
You attended the Model G20 Summit in Beijing and were awarded Best Transportation Minister and Most Outstanding Delegation. What were some key takeaways from that experience?
I do not think that it would be an exaggeration for me to say that my entire worldview shifted as a result of my experience. Framing those around you as counterparts rather than adversaries is a crucial lesson which I took away from it and am preaching to practically anyone who will listen! In a world where the dominant narrative is that you are in a constant state of competition with everyone else, it was almost revolutionary to my thought; other people’s success is not to your own detriment as you all bring something unique and will ultimately go on to do something different with your talents. The benefit of working collaboratively with students from around the world is definitely something else not to be understated – meeting people and maintaining friendships with students who live 7,000 miles away from me is something I do not think I would have experienced otherwise. My delegation was phenomenal and so supportive, and it was an honor to present the skills learned over the week at the Press Conference. Upon my return, I had to speak in an assembly of almost 400 people and my best friend remarked that everyone from my school seemed so at ease and like they enjoyed speaking, where previously I would have been trembling with fear.
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