Signing Off: Closing Reflections from a Secretary

Signing Off: Closing Reflections from a Secretary

My Rotaract journey began in 2022, right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic in Sri Lanka. We had online lectures, and I was itching to get to university, but there was no way for it. Then, I saw this Rotaract flyer fluttering around like a hopeful butterfly. Thinking it was a great excuse to visit the university, I decided to join the club. I had no clue what Rotaract was about. I was a bit nervous since I knew no one in the club or at the university. But I challenged myself, determined to make it work no matter what.

The first friend I made in Rotaract was Manthini. We met while donating books to a community service project. It was a delightful meeting, and she remains one of my best friends at university. My involvement didn’t stop there; I threw myself into most of the Rotaract projects at that time. Through an international service project, I met Lihini, and at the installation event, I met Dhanuji. I thought, “Yay, my university circle is expanding day by day!”

We all came together for numerous Rotaract events, both online and offline. I chaired my first club service event with my energetic co-chair, Induwara, who quickly became one of my best friends. This event was a milestone in my life, as I met friends like Dhanuji, Lihini, Hasini, Savini, and Amandi there. It was also at this event that I was announced as Rotaractor of the Month. These small achievements fueled my drive to climb the Rotaract ladder even higher.

I was particularly active in Club Service, Community Service, and International Service. Suddenly, our Club Service Director announced she was flying abroad and asked if I could be the co-Club Service Director. Nervous but ready, I took up the challenge with co-director Jehan. Our first project was ‘Be Mine Maybe,’ a Valentine’s Day fundraiser, followed by the hugely successful Baila Night.

RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award) was the first event where I met Rotaractors from outside our club. It was a leadership seminar full of fun. Our team, named ‘Punchi Panchi,’ had a blast for two memorable days.

A few weeks later, my name was suggested for the Secretary position. Though I was nervous yet again, I accepted the challenge. With the support of my university friends, I became the Secretary for 2023–24 in Rotaract Arts. It was a huge challenge, but we made it work, and I built lifelong friendships with the board of directors.

Lihini, the assistant secretary, is the cutest but a dynamo. Nirodha is the most innocent. Dhanuji, our nuclear bomb, always scolded me but was the first to support me. Amandi and Manthini were the most supportive directors, even when they lied about some stuff (in a good way!). Hasini and Savini are beloved directors with whom I sometimes fought but always made up. All the other directors and exco members worked together as a lovely Rota family.

Special shoutout to the UOC Rotaract clubs’ presidents and secretaries: Nikitha, Yowan, Hansaka, Melisha, Vishvi, Hansaka (yes, another one), Nimuthu, Asel, and Minul. They made my Rotaract life more fun with their jokes and camaraderie. District events and visits will always have a special place in my heart. When I felt pressured by secretary work, Methmini Akki was my go-to for comfort. I can’t forget our past vice presidents, Kavindi Akki and Yohan Aiya, who were always there for us. Last but not least, there is this one person in our gang who was doing AIESEC when we were all doing Rotaract—my tiny but wise friend—who listened to all my Rotaract woes.

Finally, my parents have been my rock, providing emotional support through it all. This year was full of cries and laughter—a truly remarkable time in my life. As a Rotaractor and an undergraduate, I learned countless skills, from leadership and quick decision-making to balancing work and handling pressure. Even in moments of failure, I learned and grew.

It was an amazing year, one that anyone would be lucky to experience. I am incredibly grateful to everyone who helped me through the ups and downs. To my Rotaract friends, thank you for being in my life.

Signing off,

Rtr. Baagya Piyamudalige

Secretary 2023-24

Viva-la Rotaract!

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