Well the time has come to write a goodbye blog and there are definitely a lot of things on my mind as I wrap up my third term as president. I started my journey with the Students Association 5 years ago (I was a Council Representative for two years) as a bright eyed and chipper first year student. I read the textbook chapter before going to class, I color-coded my notes and I always had my hands in the air answering and asking questions. Here we are, five years later. I bought one out of five textbooks this semester, I wrote my last exam with a pencil I found on the hallway floor and I need at minimum one cup of coffee to get me through my day. Oh how the times have changed.
Lots of people have been asking me how it feels to be done and the only word I can think of is bittersweet. While cleaning out my office over the past few days, I have been able to reminisce on many of the memories, challenges and successes that have been had. Of course I am looking forward to not having any six hour long board meetings and not having to write three reports every month but there will be many things that I will miss about the SA. The biggest thing will be doing things for students that students may never even know we did. Like successfully advocating for sustainable tuition or putting free food out (it doesn’t just appear, crazy right?!) or even sitting through six hour long meetings once a month and making sure that students are considered when all decisions are made.
There are a lot of things about being a student executive that I don’t think a lot of people know. Like that we work up to 30 hours a week and also take classes, have a side job, have personal relationships and maybe even have a pet or two that we need to keep alive. For me, that often felt like juggling too many balls at once, and they were on fire (and I can’t juggle). On top of having a lot going on at once, sometimes the things that were dealing with at any given time are really heavy. Student leaders have to make hard decisions, and I can say for myself that I made a lot of decisions that really weighed heavily upon me but that didn’t matter because I needed to do what was best for students, even if it gave me a few gray hairs along the way. Student leaders have to often work extra hard to be heard/taken seriously. While I think this is unfortunate, there are often many voices around the table and sometimes some get drown out. I have been fortunate enough to work with some phenomenal change makers but I have also seen people take advantage of positions of authority and do a whole lot of nothing. Such is student politics.
Something that I never had anticipated I would have to deal with was leading not only my vice presidents but our entire staff team. Three years ago our organization was very different than it is today and that a lot of change has occurred then and now. When I first got the position I anticipated a year of working to get BlackBoard mandatory and making the Starbucks a real one (this is still a priority for me FYI), and planning some rad parties along the way. I quickly learned that I would be responsible for making changes to our team as the organization at the time was not functioning as well as it could have been. My first term was consumed with HR matters but I was lucky enough to have the support of two vice presidents that were in their second terms and we were able to accomplish some great things.
In summary, the past three years have really changed my life. And I don’t mean for that to sound as corny as it does. I have been able to make positive change that has directly impacted students from getting a Fall Mental Health Break to adding a third counselor on campus to setting a new direction for Medicine Hat College. Along the way I have been able to develop so many new skills, learn so many things about myself, work with and make connections with some amazing people (shout out to the SA staff- these individuals keep the show on the road!!), find my voice and meet so many students, many of which have become friends.
Thank you for voting for me to represent you for the past three years. I hope that you feel your time at Medicine Hat College has been positively impacted by the Students’ Association and that you can see the value in this organization. Good luck to Dalton, Sydney and Anushka in the upcoming year, it’s a challenging job but if you’re always doing what’s best for students, you will be successful.
President, Students’ Association of Medicine Hat College