“What do you even do?”
Ah, the question of the year. For those who know me well, or for those who have access to view my beloved Google calendar, they know that the color-coded daily columns are no joke. I live and lead by these little hour-blocks of time stacked perfectly on top of one another. It’s become somewhat of a running joke amongst my friends: “Better calendar it in, Sienna.” “Could you send me a google calendar invite for that?” The art of mastering busyness seems to have become a synonym for my life. Trust me, I know this is nothing new—we’re all in college after all—each fulfilling our own version of “busy,” perhaps even glorifying its notion while in pursuit.
However, I’d like to propose an alternative. Perhaps the question we should be asking instead is not what we do, but why we do it. And for me, that will always be the easiest answer to give: Because I care.
On a daily basis, as your Student Body President, I attend an average of six meetings. Some days there are more, some days there are less. Sometimes these meetings are with my executive team members and we catch up on the intricate details of their interpersonal relationships that we’re all too familiar with in college, and on others, we review the goals and values they each set forth for themselves at the beginning of the year.
Sometimes these meetings are with educators and mentors in Student Affairs and Enrollment Management who update me on the latest insitutional policy changes, or offer their wisdom as I navigate national conversations that impact our university directly. Other days, my meetings are to address student concerns such as food insecurity, sexual assault and campus safety, free speech, diversity and inclusion or mental health. In short, I’m constantly learning.
The plethora of meetings would quite frankly be boring to any reader, but on any given day it seems there are no shortage of two things in my role as president: the first is emails, and the second is compassion. While I often find the first word out of my mouth when someone asks how I am is: “busy” or “tired,” there is seldom a day that passes in which I am not reminded why every meeting I attend is important, and every Google calendar event a privilege. While my position is not as glamorous as the title may imply, and my office hours are largely spent leading a team of the most caring, committed, and hardworking students I know, (disclaimer: I’m a little biased) my job as your Student Body President is the most rewarding position I have ever held not because of what I do, but because of the why I am reminded of daily by students like you. The students on this campus remind me that the “why” is located in their voices, their care, and their concern for not only this campus, but the community and the world that this place is meant to prepare us to enter.
For me, if the least I can do is infuse student voice, empathy and compassion into every meeting I attend, every office hour I log, every email I send and every student encounter, all while doing my best work to represent you—the student—then it has been a successfully busy day.
I would challenge you all, amidst the “glorified busy” to ask yourself why, and see what happens when you’re truly honest with that answer.