How Getting Involved Has Shaped My Life as a University Student

WRITTEN BY: Voula Giannoulis, Secretary-General, Greek Students Association

I joined the Greek Students’ Association (GSA) last year, my first year at the University of Toronto. At first, the University of Toronto can seem to be overwhelming and isolated. My first few days on campus involved a lot of embarrassment on my part, as I walked around with a map trying to figure out for the life of me what a Lash Miller laboratory was.  It was my first year as a life science student and it was terrifying.

During Frosh, I attended Clubs Day. As I walked around the circle looking for clubs I would be interested in, I saw the Greek flag billowing in the wind. I have always been involved with the Greek Community of Toronto, but I never really imagined myself pursuing my Greek heritage at the University of Toronto. I always associated the school with purely academic endeavors, but I sure was wrong. Soon after, I became a director and I felt I had found my niche at the University. Today I am the Secretary General for the GSA.

Leadership is an enormous aspect of my role on the GSA. Some of my main tasks involve organizing all of the directors, making sure they are helping out all the executives, working on our end of year magazine, and promoting Hellenism across the University of Toronto campus. Juggling everything can sometimes be a difficult task.

Finding the balance between assertively leading and ensuring people the council does their job; while doing so in an encouraging manner is something I have been trying to work on this year. Running a large student group like the GSA is a lot of work, which is done by our amazing executive team. With that being said, everyone on the council has an important role and needs to be completing their tasks efficiently and effectively. Being on the GSA has pushed me greatly to take a more leadership stance in the council. As I work with the directors, I have learned crucial life skills that will help me in everything I do during my life course. I have learned how to be assertive, organized, proactive, encouraging, and ultimately how to be a successful leader.

Joining a club at the University of Toronto has pushed me to become a leader in an environment that seemed so large and unmanageable. I have now learned that I can impact large-scale communities through smaller impactful groups.

With the leadership role I have taken on with the GSA, I now walk into that Lash Miller laboratory, (with my white coat and super cool goggles) and I own that lab.

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