Going into my term as VPA, I was naïve. In January, I held an executive position in my fraternity, was involved in various organizations and thought that somehow I would be able to hold all of it together. Add to that dating, attempting to maintain a strong GPA and then finding time to spend with family. Managing everything was a juggling act, and a tall order. It took careful planning and above all else, constant energy and a sound work ethic. For the most part, I succeeded in most of the points I listed above, but there were certainly some things that could have gone better.
Only a month and a half into my term, I am quickly seeing why serving students as an SU executive can consume one’s life. You must not only strive to achieve the big goals set out at the beginning of the year, but also help manage a ten million dollar budget, answer copious e-mails and on top of that, adapt to issues that arise randomly. For instance, the Faculty of Education’s recent move to allow first year students into the faculty took up nearly two full days in meetings. The recent Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry plagiarism issue resulted in over ten interviews with CBC, CTV, Canadian Press, Global and others in a matter of twenty-four hours. Serving as Vice-President Academic is very much the attempt to make order out of chaos. It is a tall order indeed.
I am now perfectly aware that the VPA commitment could become my life. I could easily spend the entire day in the office, going to meeting after meeting, thinking about different issues, reading up on hot topics, and writing reports. If I did that, I would probably be farther along than I am at the moment. I might be able to stay completely on top of my inbox and write some more letters, meet some more students, or crunch more meetings into the hours of the day. But life would become miserable. And, at some point, I would burn out. The summer would waste away, and no matter how much I accomplished, the memories in SUB 2-900 would be bitter.
Pace has rapidly become the theme of my life. I am training to run a marathon on August 21. If that is to happen, I have to gradually build up the kilometers I run each week, and run at a pace that can be sustained for two, three (and eventually four) hours. Outside of VPA, I now travel consistently. Since May, I have been to Warsaw, Krakow, Berlin and recently, Saskatoon. And prior to the end of summer, I will have been back and forth to Jasper and Banff on a few occasions, to Toronto and quite possibly back to Germany. In May alone, I made about one hundred new friends from all across Canada, and still I manage to keep in touch with many of them. I go out with different groups of friends three to four nights per week, to movies, clubs or for dinner. And most importantly, I am constantly back at home with family. Pace is the theme of my life, for 2011-2012 and hopefully, 2012-2013, 2013-2014 and so on.
If I am to serve you to the best of my ability, I have to keep this theme close to my heart. As soon as I waver and lose sight of this, my performance will recede: simple as that. Because of this, 2011-2012 is about pace. Whether it is running, maintaining a lively social life or penning papers in the office, the key is steady and consistent from start to finish.