Profiles in Leadership: Jelum Raval July 9, 2012Posted by Crystal in Leadership.
Jelum Raval, Hindi Student Council (St. George)
Jelum is a Neuroscience, Molecular Genetics and Microbiology student. She is also serving as Co-President of the Hindu Students’ Council (HSC) at St. George Campus. You can imagine that she is one busy student, but it didn’t start out that way. Back in her early U of T days, she remembers feeling intimidated walking into Convocation Hall and overwhelmed at the many extra curricular activities and events. Most of all, she didn’t know with which club to get involved! After realizing that everyone around her was in the same boat, Jelum buckled up, went into an event hosted by HSC, and the rest is history. She believes that every student should experience the amazing atmosphere, go to the numerous on campus, make friends, and enjoy university life to the fullest.
What is your definition of leadership?
To quote Gandhi: “I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.” Leadership doesn’t always mean giving out orders, and to me it is almost analogous to teamwork.
How did you get involved at U of T? Why?
I wanted to get involved on campus but never really knew what to get involved with or where to go. There are so many clubs at U of T, besides which there are a million other things one could get involved with! Then I went to an event hosted by HSC that I really enjoyed, and thought this is what I want to get involved in. It is a great way to meet people who share similar backgrounds and beliefs and be part of a community.
What are your favourite campus events?
There are way too many amazing events on campus that even I am sometimes overwhelmed at which one to go to! If I had to absolutely list a favourite, it would be Holi, an event which we schedule in March. It’s the festival of colours, and basically you get to throw powdered colour at everyone! Lots of fun!
How do you maintain the balance of your club, school and other responsibilities, especially at busy times of the year?
Yes, it can get definitely get pretty hectic and stressful. Honestly, I think we have a great executive team at HSC, everyone is responsible and the teamwork is excellent. A great team coupled with some time management makes it a lot easier to manage school, club and other responsibilities. It’s always important to sort out one’s priorities, and keeping a list of things to get done helps.
What do you feel you’ve gained from taking a leadership role in your group?
Firstly, social skills. Its great meeting new people and making connections. Secondly, I have learned how to be calmer and more composed, along with some problem solving skills. Lastly, I have gained insight about myself. I have learned a lot about myself, what I am capable of doing and what skills I still need to work on.
What have you learned from being involved with student life?
A lot! Getting involved on campus gives you so many practical skills that that are applicable in your daily life. I have learnt to be more outgoing. You know, people keep saying how large U of T is especially if you’re a first year student, walking into Con Hall on your first day surrounded by 1500 other people – it can be intimidating. I’ve learned that all it takes is talking to people. Those 1500 other students are just as shy and intimidated as you. Take the first step and you will find so many great people at U of T that are helpful and friendly. Finally, everything is a learning experience, it’s just a matter of whether you actually take away something from it or not.
When you graduate, what do you think you will miss the most about university life?
Hanging out in Gerstein! It’s like our second home!
What are your future plans?
Grad School, and Med School down the line.
Any advice for students who feel they want to get involved, but don’t know where to start?
If you’re interested in say a particular club, their profiles are on the ULife website. Look them up, shoot them an e-mail or call the number that is listed there. Go to their events and talk to them in person. Don’t hesitate to go up to the exec and ask them how to get involved. There’s some amazing clubs at UofT. Don’t be shy!
Do you have a favourite quote?
“Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.” – Albert Einstein
Interview by Redon Hoxhaj, 2011-2012 Communications Assistant, Office of Student Life