What Someone Who Knows Nothing About the Government Learns in a Role Where Everyone Knows Everything About the Government: An Exit Blog

In the latter part of my role here, I have seen what I would label as the core of OUSA, or the OUSA as I knew it move on. These were the people I first met after being hired here and the people I learned from. Knowing this team had changed me.

I learned that:

  • I am equally supportive of every government party.
  • I really, really enjoy graphic design!
  • I like to achieve, but not if it means I have to compete against others.
  • I like non-traditional and flexible work hours.
  • I work best with minimal guidance and would prefer to propose projects for myself rather than being told what to do.
  • The weather dictates my productivity.

I became more familiar with the Canadian and American governments, with using inclusive language, with what consent means, and how student advocacy is an incredibly powerful tool that actually does result in change. Have you seen our milestones page? Change is exciting and terrifying, but when you get to see that you had something to do with it, it’s rewarding. 

I can see why the gateway into adulthood that is student government is so appealing. Besides the incredible career paths a student leader has access to, it’s a fast-paced, ever-changing landscape of meetings, writing, and relationship-building with people in a giant sector full of ‘who-you-know’ opportunity. I constantly forgot that I was working with students who were younger than me. It’s intimidating when you are the one who doesn’t know how to act in the presence of a Minister, what to wear at Queen’s Park, and how to compensate for that when it doesn’t come naturally to you. I learned a lot about ‘constructive’ criticism because of that.

I will objectively say that it is important to be able to receive feedback about yourself that will serve to improve you in your role. It is something I wanted to get better at, and I will continue to get better at. I have a lot of trouble removing my values and who I am as a person from the job or situation I am in so I have always taken feedback straight to the heart of my character. My advice is to do the opposite. Be thankful you are in an environment where people care enough to give you feedback and where they want you to be better. You will not always be the best at something or at most things, but willingness to learn from your mistakes and to show actual improvement is much more valuable in the long run: you can always be improving on something.

I found that when I left graduate school and started my career, the automatic/forced learning stopped. No one is forcing you to read articles or textbooks. There are no planned discussions about what new research is being published. It feels like you peaked; it doesn’t seem like you are an expert anymore because research is always changing and you are no longer making the time to keep up with it. Because why would I flip through journal articles when I can be climbing, running, spinning, hiking, rollerblading, painting, writing, or reading how to be #GIRLBOSS? I won't tell you to not do as I have done, but (like OUSA!) hopefully your work environment allows you the time to professionally develop yourself through classes (thanks OCAD!), through time in the morning for reading about the sector (thanks Academica Top 10!), and through deep and philosophical death hour (3-4 PM) discussions with your uber-intelligent team.

So, I am moving onto a new industry that seemingly never sleeps, is insurmountably more pressure (so I hear), and one that I think my personality is just perfect for! The current OUSA team are the youngest and most thoughtfully innovative people I have worked with. I am so excited to see how their year unfolds. I will be watching from the sidelines (a.k.a., I will still stay subscribed to Academica Top 10).

And in the only way I have learned how to sign off from a blog,

Stay OUSAwesome.