The Importance of Being Unqualified

WRITTEN BY: Amir Kharazmi, AISEC Toronto

At the end of my second year in university, I joined one of the largest engineering design teams on campus. As a second year kid with 0 experience in aerodynamics, material science or mechanical design, I was critically under-qualified for the job I was given in the team. I struggled for a few months and messed up a few carbon fibre layups. My first few months on the team were definitely not fun and I may have even at some point, re-evaluated my decision to join the team.

Even though I wasn’t the most tech-savvy member and I struggled a lot until I became semi-proficient in what I was doing, the experience I gained through joining the team has been one of the most defining experiences of my life. The growth I earned from the experience inspired me to always seek to be uncomfortable because that’s how you develop.

In my search for uncomfortability, a few months later, I joined AIESEC. In case you don’t know, AIESEC’s mission is to essentially to put youth in challenging environments (i.e. volunteer/work placement abroad) and help youth develop and reach their full potential through these challenging experiences. The message of the organization really resonated with me and two years later, while being still widely unqualified for the job, I ended up as the president of the Toronto chapter.

The point I’m getting at here is, when you are a student, you are never inherently qualified for anything. As a matter of fact, more often than not, what you apply for, whether it’s a job, research position or a club position, is something that you are unqualified for.

And that’s OK. That’s how it’s supposed to be. That is how you grow.

Next time you are scrolling through Facebook and see applications pop up for another opportunity that you feel inadequate for, another opportunity that you’re not sure how well you’d do in, don’t hesitate, apply. Because what good is anything in life if you know for sure you’re going to succeed? Where is the fun in certainty? If you know that your favorite sports team would win every game from now until the end of the season, would you still want to watch every single game?

So think about the last time you really felt out of your depth. If you struggle to think of an instance, maybe you should challenge yourself more. And remember:

“Comfort Zone is a beautiful thing but nothing ever grows in there.”

Amir Kharazmi

AISEC Toronto

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