Lessons From A Year At The AMS

After twelve months immersed in the world of the AMS, it is hard to believe that I’m done! Here are some of the lessons I’ve learnt over the past several months..

1) It is important to respect and recognise the opinion of others-even when you don’t agree with them.

2) When frustrated, the best leaders do not raise their voices, but explain their views calmly and patiently.

3) Asking critical questions/being critical does not necessitate rudeness.

4) Saying thank you and recognising the contributions of others goes a long way.

5) When meetings and discussions get stuck and are not moving forward, it’s ok to take things offline and move them to another space and time.

6) It’s important to meet people where they are, rather than trying to change them.

7) Diversity is critical.

8 Smiles make a difference.

9) Being visibly different can be scary.

10) Reading broadly and deeply gives you a greater understanding of the issues that you engage with on a day to day level and makes you a lot better at what you do.

11) Living life in balance makes you a happier and more effective person.

12) People are separate from the issues they work on. One shouldn’t conflate them.

13) UBC has a ridiculously amazing President. And an amazing student union. And amazing staff. It is the people within an organization that make it great, and tremendous things can be achieved when people come together with clear intentions, a healthy dose of passion and lots of determination.

14) Managing people is tough.

15) Most people running for office tend to have similar ideas of what they want to achieve during a year in office. What distinguishes a great candidate from a potentially good candidate is the awareness he/she has of existing structures and how that impacts implementation, and their understanding of the potentially achievable.

16) Ideas have cycles-even if something doesn’t seem right at the moment, it is likely to resurface later.

17) Buses are essential for sanity.

18) Trusting your instincts is vital.

19) The best leaders are not always the most visible ones.

20) Seeking the unlikely leads to growth.

21) Asking questions leads to program excellence.

22) Everyone needs praise and recognition.

23) Blue chip cookies and hot chocolate cures all.

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Shagufta is a UBC Political Science graduate with a passion for interdisciplinary thinking, writing, travel, reading, tea, and interesting conversations. She hopes to combine all of these things in her life work someday. For now though, she studies social policy and planning at the University of Toronto and shares her adventures in and out of the classroom at http://seriouslyplanning.wordpress.com.