VP External Relations
What drew you to your position?
Graduate school at UBC can be quite lonely and you tend be isolated a lot more than during an undergraduate degree. The GSS was an opportunity to become part of a community and to better that community.
What has been a highlight of your year?
Definitely working with organizations such as the Alliance of BC Students to lobby the federal and provincial governments. It’s been really rewarding to see that student advocacy does matter to the government, and that we can create positive change not only within graduate student education in British Columbia, but education everywhere.
What’s been the biggest challenge?
Time management. It can be really hard to write a masters thesis, TA, do GSS work, and travel for all of those roles: it’s really hard to balance all of that. At that point, you have to set limits on what you’re doing and try not to become overwhelmed.
What would be your tip to students for a work-life balance?
I think a schedule is important. It’s something I struggle with but it’s something I’m working to achieve. Schedule for GSS work and thesis work and marking, but also schedule time time for yourself so that way you don’t end up kind of lost. If you take your weekends off to do reading and marking, and you leave GSS work to the weekdays like a normal job, that can be really productive.
What skills have you gained?
I’m definitely more confident in talking about political issues. I’m much more aware of the workings of the university, which doesn’t seem like a skill necessarily, but when you have a bureaucracy as large as this, it’s really nice to be able to navigate it and help people. I’m more confident in talking to people about things—in terms of student advocacy sometimes you don’t have an answer to a particular question they ask, and you have to say “I don’t know, I’ll get back to you,” and I’ve just become better at that.
Do you feel skills you’ve gained will help in future?
Yes, there’s something similar about talking to MPs and giving a presentation to a group of scholars and having them asking you questions. Not beating myself up for not being an expert on every single aspect of an issue and being able to let that go and find out and follow up is better than making up an answer on the spot.
How have you grown personally?
I’ve learned to be much more assertive. I’ve in the past been someone who’s afraid to raise my voice or voice my concerns, or take the lead in anything, and I’ve become more assertive through my experience with the GSS.
Why should someone run for the GSS?
The involvement in the graduate community is really great. There are so many wonderful people working in various levels at the Graduate Student Society. Being able to contribute really makes your graduate degree more meaningful.
What is something people might now know about you?
I’m really good at jigsaw puzzles. I can finish a 1000 piece in six hours. I did them at my grandma’s house and I got really good. It’s a skill, I’m serious.
If you could have one superpower to help you with your job what would it be?
The power of persuasion