by Kevin Adrian Wong
“Why did you decide to join the organization?”
Sir Michael Sean Deang, the UP ALCHEMES Faculty Adviser. Photo taken from Sir Deang’s Facebook Page.
Perhaps one of the most common reasons to join an organization is to grow, to be better, to be the best that one can be. Before we join, we see ourselves as eggs with all the potential in the world yet needing the time, effort, and opportunities that will make us soar above the clouds as eagles. This is what UP ALCHEMES strives for, to be the nest that gives rise to the most majestic eagles that will, in turn, make nests of their own to help nurture others. One of the best embodiments of this success is none other than UP ALCHEMES’ current adviser, Mike Deang.
Before joining the organization, Sir Mike was someone both quiet and reserved and most certainly did not see himself as someone with great leadership potential. In fact, his only concern at that point in his life was academics. Everything else was considered secondary. However, through the influence of his friends, he too would eventually become a member of UP ALCHEMES.
Starting out, he used UP ALCHEMES as a stepping stone to continue strengthening his own academic life. He constantly attended the reviews hosted by the organization yet was unwilling to take leadership roles of his own. To put it in his own words, “I did not want to get out of my comfort zone.” Yet, as he built up more and more confidence in himself, he would eventually take on positions he never would have thought of taking before such as becoming a co-director for NSC, an R&T head, and overall head of CEERs. Although with roots still firmly planted in academics, it was clear that the organization brought about an unprecedented change in the future UP ALCHEMES adviser. As a culmination of his time spent in UP and as a member of the organization, he eventually took on the position of the Executive Officer for Academics, in order to not just learn and improve himself, but also to help with the growth of others as well.
As one of the figureheads of the organization, he faced the challenge of truly stepping up as a leader. With his prior experiences being heads of academic related events, he was prepared to do the best he could do for UP ALCHEMES. It was at this time, when he became the head of academics for the organization, that he realized his true passion, teaching, and it would be through this that he would springboard onto his current career as a professor in the department. As an added opportunity, he was also given the mantle of being the adviser for the very organization that helped him become who he is today. Of these two positions, he had this to say, “Although I was an executive officer before, I was not really satisfied with my previous work. There were a lot of things that I could have done better and by being both the adviser of UP ALCHEMES and a professor for DChE, I can continue with my passion and love for teaching while at the same time contributing even more to the organization.”
Although UP ALCHEMES provided him with all of these opportunities to grow, this is not the main reason why he is thankful for joining. Rather, it is the mindset that has been instilled in him, SHAPE, that he believes is the greatest asset that he has been provided with. The desire to constantly improve and the willingness to learn are valuable traits that he maybe would not have otherwise learned if he did not become a part of the organization.
The lessons Sir Mike has learned are the same lessons UP ALCHEMES continues to teach us everyday, to embody SHAPE in everything we do and to become the best that we can be. Clearly, his journey and success are things that we should all seek to imitate, but in our own ways. We may not be as gifted academically, nor are we necessarily as inclined towards teaching, but we each have our own strengths that can make us spread our wings and fly. So, as we continue on with our lives, waiting for our time to leave the nest and soar through the skies unabated, let us listen to some words of wisdom from Sir Mike himself:
“Everything that you do, take it back to the core values. If you’re missing even one of them, you’re not living up to your full potential. Yes, as an academic organization, academics is our priority, but do not just immerse yourself there, venture to other aspects. Go out of your comfort zone, explore everything that you can explore, and remember that if you’re struggling with anything that your orgmates will always be there to support you, and so will I.”