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Profiles in Leadership: Emzhei Chen May 7, 2012

Posted by Crystal in Leadership.

Emzhei, left. Her collegue, Nadia, will be featured in a future leadership profile.

Emzhei Chen, Campus Life & Special Events Coordinator (U of T Scarborough)

The excellent campus life coordinators during Emzhei’s university career helped her have such a great student experience, they inspired Emzhei to get involved more and more in student life. So after getting her B.Ed., she decided to work in campus life rather than teaching, to provide future students with the same great experience she had. It has made for a great combination as Emzhei has become an irreplaceable part of UTSC.


What is your definition of leadership?

Leadership is cultivating the ability to create and support positive change in oneself, others and in communities.

What made you choose to work in student life?

I chose to work in student life because of my own student experience. I learned so much outside of the classroom through clubs, orientation and service learning. Having the opportunity to help other students do the same is a real privilege!

Were you not working in a campus, where could you see yourself?

If I wasn’t working in a campus, I would be a high school Biology/English teacher. I was in teacher’s college when I made the decision to pursue a career in student life, after working with fantastic students on dances, fundraisers and councils after school.

What are your favourite campus events?

There are so many to choose from! Orientation is definitely on the list because it’s an opportunity to highlight the tightly-knit community at UTSC for new students. Watching guest speakers on our campus is also a real treat! Through the Leadership Program, Jessica Holmes and Neil Pasricha have shared their stories to motivate and inspire me to do better. Lastly, Cultural Mosaic hosted by the Scarborough Campus Students’Unionis something I look forward to every year. It showcases the breadth and depth of talentScarboroughstudents have in song and dance.

How do you maintain balance of your work, campus events and other responsibilities, especially at busy times of the year?

I always schedule ‘me’ time in the mix in order to balance work, campus events and classes! This ‘me’ time includes things like: coffee conversations with friends, reading a book, and volunteering. By doing these things, I am able to recharge and bring my best whole self forward to focus on upcoming tasks.

Any tips for students who might be struggling with the balance between their studies and their involvement on campus?

I have always felt that the busier I was, the better I did in school. Having many things to juggle helped me time manage effectively. Also, in the age of the smart phone many people forget the agenda as an amazing tool. I have been a faithful user of agendas since high school which helped me map out my academic and extracurricular commitments.

I remember in my undergraduate studies, I wanted to tackle it all. When I sat down and discovered what experiences would be most meaningful to partake in, things became less hectic.

What accomplishments are you most proud of, either as a student or as a student life professional?

As a student, I am most proud of being a first generation student. I was the first in my nuclear family to go onto post secondary education. As a student life professional, I am most proud of supporting Orientation’s record number of participants (over 1300), the introduction of a conference specifically geared to student organizations and almost completing my M.Ed. (one course to go).

Any advice for students who feel they want to get involved, but don’t know where to start?

First off, discover what you’re interested in, whether it’s video games, dance or photography. Student organizations are formed all the time based on these interests, so join a club! Ask your classmates and friends what they’re doing after school and join them if it’s something that you want to get involved in. Check out poster boards, visit the Student Life office, and connect with your student union!

Do you have a favourite quote?

“It always seems impossible, until it is done.” – Nelson Mandela

Interview by Redon Hoxhaj, 2011-2012 Communications Assistant, Office of Student Life


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