The Road Ahead of Us


It only takes one day, one second, one moment to get inspired and to change your perspective. Running through life at the speed of light, we stop noticing the big little things that shape our entire identity. What led you to choose the path you are on? Was it seeing a dancer move? Was it learning your first foreign word? Was it joining an interest club your friend dragged you to? Each of us has had that magical mindset-shifting experience which makes us who we currently are. Through defining that moment we have the chance to look into our future and see the road ahead of us. So, to know my next step I decided to come back to the beginning.

September 10th , 2018. I am cutting a class to go to a meeting – an opening reception starting the Whom Do We Trust Conference organized by Track II. I walk into a room full of people, inspiration and hope. It felt like there was smoke from all the fire in people’s eyes. That night I got to become a part of something – I didn’t yet know what.

Over the next three days I met wonderful people from both Russia and America, I spoke on stage in front of those people and, as much as I was afraid of it, I loved it, and, most importantly, I got to play a part – however small it may be – in building the future of our countries. The conference gave me a voice, a sense of being important to the world around me and ever since those four September days I have been showing my right to that voice. After getting on that stage in front of like-minded people who look in the same direction as me, I felt encouraged to make the boldest, most courageous choices possible to get the most benefits out of my journey.

THE CONFERENCE GAVE ME A VOICE, A SENSE OF BEING IMPORTANT TO THE WORLD AROUND ME AND EVER SINCE THOSE FOUR SEPTEMBER DAYS I HAVE BEEN SHOWING MY RIGHT TO THAT VOICE.

During the course of the last 10 months my life has undergone tremendous changes. I am now working towards a career I have always thought was unreachable for me. I stopped wasting my time doing nothing and started exploring the world and expanding my knowledge of it. I have begun helping other people achieve their goals, and it gives me constant hope that I can achieve mine. What’s most important to me right now is that by opening my mind to new possibilities, I also opened my heart and soul to all the greatness of this magnificent world. I am not scared of letting people in and depending on someone anymore. Through deepening my relationships with other people, I started understanding myself better. Ironically, the day I agreed to speak on the Conference I thought I was doing something completely out of my character.

I still remember the day I was interviewed for the conference. That day, when I decided not to be scared of public speaking and unexplored territories, I changed my perspective and, consequently, my life. Now, thinking about my future, I am not afraid of the difficult path anymore. I am forever grateful to the amazing Track II team for their inspiring work and the opportunity to be a part of it. Now I know my next step. Do you?

Anna Shabanova is a student St. Petersburg State University and a participant in both Whom Do We Trust 2018 and Whom Do We Trust 2019. Our gratitude to Anna for sharing her experiences with our readers.

Watch an interview with Anna by fellow student participant Cameron Lallana here.

Watch Anna's speak at Whom Do We Trust 2018 here.

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