Since my senior year of college at KU has been flipped on its head, it’s given me a lot of time to reflect. While there are a lot of things I thought I would be doing this semester, I am also slowly realizing how many opportunities I’ve had these last three and ¾ years that have genuinely shaped who I am. Yeah, maybe this final quarter could have been really awesome too, but I still appreciate amazing memories and experiences the Union supported.
I’ve started thinking even as far back as my junior year of high school when I was touring places like USC and thinking I was going to major in engineering. Then I realized I should probably be good at numbers, and that was never going to happen. So, a business major was an easy fall back, and my rationale was hey, I’ll probably make a decent amount of money in business analytics when I graduate. (Long story short, I majored in both Marketing and Management and Leadership instead, and will use those degrees to make a much, much lower salary than business analytics. But we’ll get back to that.)
I remember sitting in probably my second or third Student Union Activities (SUA) board meeting, looking at the executive team at the front of the room thinking “Wow, they’ve totally got their lives together and they’re doing this really cool thing. I bet I can be up there one day.” It took me a while to do that cool thing. supported SUA leaders had this super cool story that they joined with their BFF’s and became leaders in a month, but it took me a year and a half to even be Recruitment Coordinator (not even a “cool” coordinator that planned events!) and none of the people in my residence hall felt like giving up their Thursday nights for board meetings with me.
But I stuck with it. And started to feel just a little more comfortable. Then I became an RA (you might have noticed when I residence hall and not dorm - some training really sticks) and I tell everyone I absolutely don’t regret doing that job, but I would absolutely never do it again. Right now it’s a little ironic thinking back to when I swore I would never again work where I live.
That year someone gave me a little nudge. One of my advisors that I honestly had never had any interaction with before, said “Hey, are you applying for exec?” Uh, I was barely sure I was going to apply for the position I already had! What do you mean, apply for exec?
Before I’d ever heard the term imposter syndrome I was feeling it hardcore when I actually got offered the position. I was even considering turning it down to keep my old, easier position! But something just told me to take the jump, and I genuinely believe that quick decision on the phone that day changed literally everything. I was so scared and so, so excited, even when on top of that I still had to be in charge of 35 girls just a few months younger than me living in a residence hall.
Yeah, my classes in the business school have been really wonderful learning experiences, and I feel like I’ve learned a lot that I can apply to the real world. But absolutely nothing compares to the out-of-class work and experiences I was able to have because of the Union. I truly would not be the same person I am right now.
The last two years have flown by. I’ve spent hundreds of hours in the Union, held two executive leadership positions, planned an event with over 8,000 people in attendance, shaped and changed SUA to continue serving KU’s campus and grow wonderful, well-rounded leaders, and I realized my heart lies in higher education. And even though I realize that the education field definitely doesn’t have the paycheck that business analytics might have, I am so grateful to have discovered something I am passionate about.
Truthfully, my heart really lies in the Kansas Memorial Union, and all the people that put their heart into it too.