1. In your experience, what impact does student leadership have on campus? What has it taught you? Has it enhanced your education?
Leadership roles give hope, courage, confidence, and a sense of self-respect to students. When I became a leader, I started to believe that I could make it through this difficult road. I learned what my strengths were and how I could use them to benefit the teams I led and my classmates as well. I learned to embrace my weaknesses and work towards improving myself both personally and professionally. When you have opportunities through which students can emphasize their best qualities, it creates such a wonderful environment. I made so many amazing friends through my leadership experiences. I noticed that student leadership opportunities allows individuals who may never have met to connect. This allows different parts of the U of T campus and different U of T campuses to unite. In addition, leadership helps students learn to manage school and work. I knew I had responsibilities outside of my schoolwork, so I learned to manage time. My grades improved significantly after I started to participate in work outside the classroom.
2. Has your experience outside the classroom helped define your career ambitions as you leave U of T?
I have always had this passion to help people as much as I can. I remember dressing up as a doctor for numerous halloweens in my childhood. Even though I knew where my interests lay, I was always hesitant because quite frankly I did not believe in myself. Throughout my undergraduate career, I have participated in numerous projects (outside of the classroom) that have allowed me to help people. Nothing compares to the feeling of actually seeing your dreams become a reality. Volunteering with the Centre for Community Partnerships at the University of Toronto has given me the courage to pursue a career in healthcare. I am now taking a year off to write some entrance exams. Hopefully I will either be in medical school next year or pursuing a masters in global health. I would not have been able to build this courage and clear out a path for the future without these experiences.
3. What piece of advice would you give students who are thinking of getting involved outside the classroom?
I remember first year I was very hesitant in getting out there and joining campus organizations and clubs. I know first year is a difficult year because you are transitioning into a system that is nothing like high school. You have to learn to self-study, to be independent, and to manage time. My biggest piece of advice for students looking to get involved, especially hesitant first year students, is go for it. Look for opportunities through your registrars office (they generally have pamphlets of different campus based organizations you can join). Google is your best friend! Search for organizations at U of T. I can assure you that there is something out there for you, something that you are passionate about. University seems a lot more difficult without these extracurricular activities, which is something I learned the hard way after a lonesome first year.