Throughout my three years in student government there have been may disagreements, debates that went a little too far, and difficult conversations that needed to be had. There are people whom you will never get along with and many late nights spent reading policies and bylaws or doing research. There will be days spent on ideas that may never come to fruition, or late nights on the Friday of a long weekend finishing up the week’s work. It is a demanding job and, at times, thankless, but it is always, and will always be, worth it.
Since the students at Trent Durham began believing in my ability to represent them, I have been involved in truly amazing things and have been given the opportunity to experience things that few others have the opportunity to do. In my first year I represented the history program on our Board of Directors, and was afforded the opportunity to attend OUSA’s General Assembly hosted by the University Students’ Council at Western University. During that time, I got to experience another university and city, as well as learn about many issues facing students and offer recommendations on policy papers. One of my edits even made it into the final edition. As a then second year student I found this endlessly fulfilling. Through student government my voice had the chance to create a very real change on the lives of not just the students at my campus, but many future students I will never meet. Student government is worth doing for the voice you get to have, and the impact this has on cohorts of students across the province.
Being a part of student government taught me many things that you could never learn in a classroom. Being in an elected position has truly taught me the value of listening and working with others to find solutions to issues. Problems shared are problems halved. It has taught me patience and understanding; I now understand the importance of considering multiple perspectives and giving people opportunities to clarify and refine their viewpoints overtime. These opportunities have given me transferable skills for my career as well. In my role as Vice President of Campus Life, one day I may be writing policy, the next running an event, and the day after that looking at blueprint drawings for new renovations. Human resources, bookkeeping, hiring staff, researching, conflict mediation - all things potential employers are looking for are part of the day to day life of any executive in any student government. Student government is worth doing for all the thousands of little, and not so little, things it will teach you.
The last and the biggest reason that student government is worth pursuing is the people. I have been doing this for three years and have never had to look far for inspiration from my peers. Whether at OUSA’s General Assembly where I have often caught myself sitting back in intellectual awe of the people I am around. Or close to home where I am inspired by those that came before me to carry on the legacy of good work done by them. Ultimately, what by far makes student government worth it are the people I get to go to work for everyday. When I hold an event, or pass a policy, or affect some change that puts a smile on a face, or alleviates some hardship, all the hard debates and late nights seem a little less long and entirely worth it. Most of all student government is worth doing for those you will meet along the way.