The typical “student leader” dilemma

How many times have I been down this road before, both here and in my undergrad?

  1. I enter new school.
  2. I get involved in student organization X.  For numerous reasons, including making friends, embarking on new interests, learning new things, etc.
  3. Student organization X is great, but could be so much better.
  4. I invest considerable time, energy, and sanity into trying to improve the organization from the inside-out.
  5. Student organization X consumes my motivations, taking my focus away from schoolwork and turning me into a full-time student organization X guru, instead of focusing on my studies.
  6. I enjoy the fruits of my successes in org X, but I pay for it with compromised and borderline-unsatisfactory academic performance.

Queer McGill has its executive elections on Friday.  A lot of folks have encouraged me to serve on the executive again this year.  I’m really proud of what I was able to achieve in the organization last year as one of its Social Coordinators.  This time, since the greatest potential for me to improve this organization lies in internal affairs, I would want to run for one of its Administrators.  My mind has been brimming with ideas, a detailed vision of how I would run things, an entire flowchart of processes that I would install in order to streamline our organization, etc.

At the same time, however, I have this thesis sitting here.  And, three classes and an internship.  And, a supervisor who is hounding me to work on this thesis and prove to him that the money he is paying me to work in his lab is money well spent.  It’s bad enough that I let my obsession with Queer McGill consume me last year.  But, I can no longer afford to sail down the rabbit hole of student organization leadership when I have lost time to make up here.

And, this is why I constantly second-guess whether I should’ve gone into management instead of research. But, then again, whoever said the two were mutually exclusive – that good research doesn’t require good management and a unified, streamlined system of structure?

One thought on “The typical “student leader” dilemma

  1. Yeah, definitely had that experience 🙂 But I’ve come to see grad school as really meant for the pursuit of knowledge (as it should be, I guess). If we really want to pursue some crook or cranny of truth, then we go to grad school. Else we should find a job? :-)) Management and knowledge-generation are obviously not exclusive, and are highly interdependent, but the training for each seems to be 😛


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