The Generally Still-Practicing Society

Thursday 20 June 2019


What better way to develop as a leader than to lead a new society? This was my supervisor’s idea early in the scholarship. After learning to jump through bureaucratic hoops, keep a cashbook, and hustling membership from friends, I have certainly built leadership skills.

After over a year, however, The Mackenzie General Practice Society itself is still being constructed. My co-founder Emma and I encountered many challenges in affiliating, running events, and forming a meaningful committee. Personally, I’ve learned:

  • to be much earlier and more aggressive with advertising events and committee positions. I was under the illusion that, once we were founded, enough people would come to us. In fact, a small society should actively seek out interested individuals (who just don’t know how interested they are yet!)
  • unless an action is initiated, great ideas will never happen. During meetings, many ideas would be met with praise and agreement; some would even get written down! However, when we’d look at that idea a month later, it was no longer fresh enough for me to know what physical action needs to be taken to achieve it
  • don’t fight bureaucracy, it just makes life more difficult. When I was reading through the requirements for affiliation, I kept seeing things I thought were implausible for our society, and so would pretend I could ignore them or ask to be exempt. But they always came back to bite me, even if we were given a semi-exemption. It would have been much easier in the long run to just roll my eyes, and immediately figure out what needs to be done to tick the box.

Eventually we did succeed in completing the foundations– we’ve affiliated, hosted a pub-quiz (without the pub, but with pizza!) and facilitated buses to events, re-affiliated, and have a functional committee. These are all successes I am proud of, but despite ticking all the boxes, I can tell there’s much more to complete that isn’t included on the “run a society” checklist. I believe it’s the same with personal development – as you grow, you see more and more opportunities for self-improvement.

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