Wednesday, March 31, 2010

On to the next round...

3.24.2010, originally uploaded by jeff's fancy blog.

I've been experiencing some mixed emotions as I approach the end of my run with the University's Graduate & Professional Assembly, for which I've served as the Vice President for Student Affairs since the summer of 2008. Overall, the experience has been extremely positive and worthwhile. A highlight from the past two years has been sitting on committees and task forces with Student Affairs professionals and faculty who are passionate about their work. I've been able to gain an insider's perspective on how University governing systems work. I have met and worked with people for whom I have great respect and admiration, and I've enjoyed contributing to the work of these dedicated teams. Another highlight, without question, was traveling to D.C. last year to lobby on behalf of graduate & professional students. It was an invaluable experience that I have been able to tie directly to my research interests.

The negative parts of this experience stem mostly from my health challenges of this past year, which have forced me to step back a bit in terms of how I am able to contribute to the Assembly. Having gone through similar struggles in the past (as far back as high school), I knew that I needed to be upfront in saying "I need to be absent from X,Y and Z". I believe that I managed to do this in a way that protected my dignity and self-respect, and for the most part I got the support that I needed from my peers. Although I toyed with the idea several times over the past few months, I am glad that I chose not to resign from my position. With recent improvements in my health I am now hoping to finish out my 2nd term knowing that I did the best that I could, given the circumstances with which I was dealt.

While I will not be involved with GAPSA's Executive Board in the next academic year, I am not ruling out the possibility of future activity with student governance. Right now I need a year to heal, get my head together, and focus on my academics. A big shout-out to everyone who joined and supported me on this journey - it has provided some of the biggest highlights of my educational career.

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