At the end of each term, K-State’s Student Governing Association body dedicates its last open period of the meeting to invite senior leaders to give a few last remarks of reflection, gratitude, and even advice accumulated over their years of experience. Although I am not a senior, this meeting marks the last time I will be serving as a Senator for the College of Arts and Sciences and therefore, I feel the need to give a few last concluding remarks. Whether you are currently serving alongside me in the 2013-2014 SGA term, a future leader in student government at K-State, or just a reader who stumbled upon this post: I hope you can take something away from the great deal of influence and impact this organization has had on me, and understand a little more about why it will always hold a special place in my heart. Without further adieu, here it goes:
- Do not take the environment for granted.
- SGA is a unique organization in that your age, grade, or number of credit hours does not affect the pull that your voice carries. I have never felt so empowered to speak my mind or challenge someone else in debate without feeling judged because of my lack of experience. The Big 12 room allows you to learn so much because you are given an opportunity to do great things from day one—even as an Intern. Use this to your advantage and push yourself to try things that scare you. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to succeed and for believing in me (probably despite your best judgment).
- The most important part of our roles as student leaders is to constantly challenge the status quo. Never allow the phrase “it’s always been that way” allow you to be complacent about doing what’s always been done. Einstein always said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Try new things, vote against the rest of the body, and stand up for what’s right, even when it’s not popular. It is your responsibility to represent the underrepresented and be a voice for our constantly evolving, diverse body and always push K-State forward.
- Unapologetically give yourself to something you’re passionate about. Don’t be afraid to fail. It’s wild, it’s scary, and there will be times where your hands are so sweaty you think you might not ever be able to grasp anything ever again. (Maybe that’s just me. Maybe I should get that looked at.) Regardless—there are few times in our lives other than college where we are able to do this as truly and freely as now. The students you will get the opportunity to meet are second to none, and you will learn and be inspired by each and every one of them. Take time to get coffee with that intern. Volunteer to chalk even if you have 1,000 other things to do. Spend those extra ten minutes after the meeting mingling with those you debated against moments earlier. People matter.
If any of you happen to be fellow senators or leaders in SGA, I thank you so much for encouraging me to feel confident in myself to do things I never thought I was capable of. I feel forever indebted for the opportunity I was given to be my authentic self, which allowed me to find my place in an organization amongst leaders quadruple my caliber and become the woman I am today. I’ve learned a great deal from each of you and will forever be grateful these three years which will inspire me for many, many years to come. Thank you for the lessons you’ve taught me and the unforgettable relationships that have cultivated from uniting under a unified passion: serving the best student body in the nation. It’s been an honor, and I’m kind of sorry I was late to so many meetings. Thank you.