By DaMesha Jackson, MPA student
Yes, it can be done and very enlightening! During my second year in grad school here at the U of M-Flint, I became involved in student government. This came about because I had always wanted to be in student government. However, in my undergrad I had other extra-curricular activities and could not fit it on my plate. During grad school I was working right across the skyway from the school, so I was able to attend a lot of lunch forums and focus groups. During this time, I learned that I did not like the way some of the policies were set up at the school. So…instead of just saying I did not like policies, I became involved. I started going to the meetings, and then a position came open. I applied for the Director of Foreign Outreach and I got the position!!!
The Director of Foreign Outreach is in charge of connecting the students with resources to help them be more informed about policies, rules and government in the community and in the school. The position was to help students learn how they can change the world with small actions, like voting and lobbying at our state capitol.
I was excited and nervous. I learned that student government played a bigger part of the school then some students realize! I got to meet new people, network with many people on campus, and learn new things! I also got to go to Michigan-wide student government conferences and meet state representatives. I was able to help plan events and show support to a lot of other organizations and groups on campus. Working with these other students (both grad and undergrad) showed me so much. They were talented, informed and active on campus!
This helped me to balance my life out between work, class work and my children. It did become hectic in my last semester, but they were very understanding. There was a point where I could only attend meetings. I could not help plan activities and put on activities myself. I was drained by grad school life, but it never took away from the experience of knowing and earning all of the inter-working’s of the University and to have lunch with the chancellor. These things, cannot be taken away. My experience was priceless. It was worth it, hectic, but worth it. They gave me a chance.