Author: tasneemislam

Hi there! I'm Tasneem, a PhD student and registered nurse. If you're a Harry Potter fan like me, you'll understand what I mean when I call this blog a PhD student's pensive Pensieve. Basically, a Pensieve is a place to store memories, thoughts and ideas when the ol' hard drives gets full. Revisiting them in a few years' time will be fun, I'm sure! So Join me as I explore the world of research, academia, health care, travel, food, photography, the internet and so much more!

Starting a Startup with the Plato Project

As part of my mission for personal growth through acquisition and sharing of knowledge, the increasingly popular social entrepreneurship movement appeals to me.

My health care background also fuels my interest in sustainable and empathetic innovation. In fact, my desire to effect change through consumer involvement and facilitation has informed other professional interests of mine, including health informatics and user experience design.

Social entrepreneurship appeals to the altruistic part of me that doesn’t feel the need for voluntourism to appease. I believe in empowerment – that is, helping people to help themselves. But I also want to give back to my local community before seeking to change the world. You know, baby steps 😉

I first found out about the Plato Project through a sponsored ad on my Facebook news feed. I always keep an eye out for interesting business articles, and Plato’s ad drew my attention and prompted me to quickly scan the landing page. The opportunity to develop an idea for a startup with a short course, delivered under a school of thought focused on mindset and purpose, was novel and in line with my own style of thinking and working. The Plato Project is focused on helping entrepreneurs develop purposeful business in a way that is meaningful to each creator.

I took the plunge and signed myself up. I already had an idea brewing in the back of my mind for a couple of years, so now was as good a time as any to develop it into a tangible business plan, which is the end product at the end of the course.

Sessions were held on Saturdays at the very swish Edgelabs space in Fitzroy, Melbourne. The environment did wonders for my creativity and productivity!

IMG_8859

Our facilitator was Ben Roulston, an experienced entrepreneur and enthusiastic teacher. Multifaceted educational tools and resources were provided, including:

  • Self-directed learning through Plato Project’s online learning portal
  • Templates for each activity that would fit neatly into the final business plan
  • Group discussion and idea sharing
  • Interactive tutorials
  • Facilitated free time to work on activities
  • Insightful guest speakers
  • One-on-one phone meetings with Ben to discuss individual progress and obtain personalised feedback

IMG_8857

Each and every 6-hour day would be over before I knew it. Time flies when you’re having fun, becoming inspired and learning heaps!

My time with the Plato Project gave me the opportunity to introduce myself to like-minded entrepreneurs – not only my classmates, but entire networks dedicated to value-driven global citizenship. During my time as a class participant, I was able to arrange meetings with two guest speakers and gain valuable insight and advice about my business, while offering ideas of my own. It’s the empathetic exchange of ideas and stories that makes the Plato experience so positive.

You can learn more about the Plato Project here, and find me on Linkedin if you’d like more info on my activities.

Tas xo

On Nature

I’m at peace when there are few humans around me. When I’m experiencing the sheer beauty and vastness of the scene before me and it’s just me and the world – a silent yet devastatingly expressive entity. I revel in my existence and my freedom, and feel truly, deeply grateful for being there to witness such a moment.

P1050972.JPG

Review: Elyros Restaurant, Melbourne

Crete_Hania3_tango7174.jpg

Cretan Cuisine in Camberwell

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of catching up with one of my colleagues, the lovely G, at Elyros Restaurant and Wine Bar.

It’s refreshing to come across a restaurant serving niche dishes from the Mediterranean island of Crete. Cretan cuisine is seasonal, and remains true to its natural sources.

Our bread basket featured a variety of savoury and sweet breads, complete with a healthy dose of olives, olive oil, creamy yoghurt and chunky dip featuring a hint of chilli and capsicum.

The wine list is extensive, organised by country or region, and comes complete with maps.

Elyros has a $45 set lunch menu on Sundays from 12pm-3pm. It’s filling and hearty yet light at the same time. A lovely introduction to a quaint little island I’d love to visit someday!

xo Tasneem

Rediscovering Suminagashi Art

IMG_8431.JPG

I recently rediscovered suminagashi, a Japanese paper marbling art, after 20 years.

When I was around ten years old, we had a suminagashi activity in my classroom. I remember quite enjoying the process of playing with dyes, swirling them around in water, and capturing a cool snapshot of that movement.

I made a couple of creations, and took them home at the end of the day. I tucked them somewhere in the back of a folder…and there they stayed – for two decades.

Until I found them recently, still in great condition! I marvelled at how pretty they were. I decided to frame them both, and now they hang in my apartment as wonderfully modern art pieces that I created as a child!

I’ve decided to revisit suminagashi, and rekindle that creative spark!

I purchased this marbling kit, which I will experiment with in the coming weeks. So watch this space!

IMG_8432.JPG

Tas xo

On Unconscious Bias

Untitled design-2

You know, it’s funny. Sometimes, it takes days, weeks, months or even years to reflect on things that have happened to you and decide whether those experiences were good or not. Nearly three months after the event, I find myself offended and saddened by something I ignored at the time. I was on a cruise, about to begin an afternoon of kayaking in New Caledonia. The French kayak company owner tried to start a conversation with me by asking what I thought was “Are you on the cruise?”

He had a rather thick accent and didn’t fully grasp English vocabulary, so I paused before answering, thinking of other possible words of similar phonetics that would apply in this context. I couldn’t come up with any, so I said “Yes”. 

Then later when we had a break, we had another short exchange, and that’s when realisation dawned. He had actually asked me if I was on the *crew*. The ship crew. I didn’t hear him ask anyone else the same question. I was dressed in casual clothes, like everyone else. What was it that made him assume? What was it about my appearance that made me different? Well, I was the only person of colour on the tour. Is that what it was all about? Or am I reading into this too much?

I thought about it some more after learning about these brilliant online tests for unconscious bias and realised that we all have them, and some are more conscious than unconscious! I must say that it’s a sad reflection of the world economy and order that none of the wait staff I encountered on board were Caucasian and yet all of the ship’s entertainment team was, with the exception of one possibly Hispanic dancer (an assumption of my own). My point is this: it’s not enough to admit we have unconscious biases. We have to ask ourselves – why? And what next? Because if we don’t answer these questions, nothing will ever change. And I will never realise my dream of becoming a cruise entertainer! 

 

 

Poetry Essentials: Rumi

*Current Mood*

i can sing better than any nightingale

but because of

this city’s freaks

i seal my lips

while my heart weeps

yesterday the wisest man

holding a lit lantern

in daylight

was searching around town saying

i am tired of

all these beasts and brutes

i seek

a true human

we have all looked

for one but

no one could be found

they said

yes he replied

but my search is

for the one

who cannot be found