My Experience as a Student Leader on Campus

A photo of Middlesex College at night with a starry sky.Written by: Kaitlyn Parsons, 4th Year Honours Double Major in Medical Science + Psychology

Photo by: Warren Wong on Unsplash

Getting involved in your community is one of the most important aspects of designing your experience while here at Western. Finding the things you love and are passionate about is so important in making meaningful connections and experiences while on campus. Coming into university I really had no idea how I wanted to get involved on campus or what opportunities were available to me. Looking back on my last three years at Western I am beyond grateful for the leadership opportunities I’ve had and the things they’ve taught me along the way.

In high school, I struggled to figure out what things I liked and wanted to join. It wasn’t until grade 12 that I realized I really loved any opportunity that allowed me to connect with others and bring people together. I became involved in Link Crew helping grade 9 students transition into high school, and became one of the event executive members of my student union. I truly loved these experiences and knew that these roles were ones that I'd be really interested in pursuing more so in the future.

After starting at Western back in September 2018, I quickly became interested in becoming a Soph within the orientation program. I was incredibly lucky to have two amazing residence sophs that truly helped create a fun, safe and welcoming environment on our floor. They showed me the impact that sophs can make on first year students and really inspired me to want to become involved myself. As a residence soph I truly found my family and met some of my best friends. This role has introduced me to so many incredible people that inspire me to want to be better everyday and are truly passionate about helping others succeed. This year will be my third year sophing in the program, now as part of the Off-Campus soph team, and I have loved every second along the way. Becoming a soph has truly taken me out of my shell and helped me build more confidence when it comes to working with others. One thing I love about the sophing program is just how different everyone is. We all have different backgrounds, experiences, passions but we all come together to help first year students transition into university. Becoming a soph has easily been my favourite part about my university experience at Western.

In second year I also had the incredible opportunity of being the Essex Hall Residents’ Council President. I was really nervous about starting this role, I remember thinking will I do a good enough job? What exactly am I getting myself into? Am I really cut out for this? Looking back I am so grateful that my sophs and peers believed in me and pushed me to apply. A lot of the time people don’t apply for things because they may not know all that lies ahead or if they’ll even get the position. These were the thoughts that I had before applying to be Council President but I took a risk and it became one of my favourite experiences. I was able to work with an incredible group of people that all wanted to make sure that first years had a great experience and worked together to make that happen. I also had the opportunity to work closely with other individuals in residence, other council president’s, as well as other members of housing to discuss aspects of residence life. I’m so grateful for the people I was able to meet, work with and learn from throughout this role. When you have an incredible team of people working towards a common goal, really beautiful things will come from it. If there's a role you're interested in I definitely recommend applying and putting yourself out there, you never know what amazing things may come out of it.

As a Community Connections leader last summer and an Academic Success & Engagement Transition leader this summer I've also had the opportunity to learn more about Student Experience and all the resources it has to offer the Western Community. From the Writing Center, PAL centre, LAMP, ASP, etc. there are so many ways to get involved in the Western community, as well as so many opportunities to seek out help from peers and staff. This role has given me the opportunity to work on many projects and get to know many of the staff working behind the scenes to help make these experiences available to students. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet many new students who have had different leadership roles and learn about what those are like from the perspective of other students.

My time at Western has been full of amazing experiences that I never could have imagined before stepping foot on campus. All of which have allowed me to learn about myself as a leader, learn more about others and more about campus resources. I am forever grateful for all I have learned, the people I have met and the growth that has happened along the way. If there are any roles you think you’d be a great fit for or an area you are passionate about, apply apply apply. You never know what greatness could lie ahead, what other opportunities may arise for you and who you may meet along the way.


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