In this YU Blog series, we’re tackling leadership to uncover just how diverse and accessible it can be, despite its sometimes forbidding reputation. If you like who we’re profiling today, check out our first installment from two weeks ago as well.
Nadia Greco is a third-year English student who has contributed a lot of time and enthusiasm to York and Vanier College. Starting off as a First Year Representative, she gracefully ascended to an important role: Vice-President of Social/Cultural Events, which includes the job of Orientation Chair. Every year, York University holds an Orientation Week, commonly known as Frosh Week, at the beginning of September for incoming first-years. It’s a week of meeting new people, partying and attending educational sessions to help students freshly out of high school adjust to university life. Orientation Chairs have the responsibility of planning Frosh Week in terms of events, engagement, training upper-year leaders and, most of all, making sure everything runs smoothly. We asked Nadia a few questions about how she dealt with the massive responsibility and how she continues to lead in her everyday life. But first: a round of fun icebreaker questions!
- Favourite song of the moment: Devil’s Whisper — Raury.
- If you could drink any beverage for the rest of your life: Fruit punch!
- Best thing that’s happened to you so far in 2016: In general, the year has been good to me! A lot of learning and fun.
- How do you cheer yourself up? Music.
- If you could pursue any major, it would be: Law. I’m not interested in being a lawyer, but if I could study anything for fun, that would be it.
Interesting answers, Nadia! We think you would make a great lawyer.
What inspired you to become Orientation Chair?
During my Frosh, coming from my high school (I don’t live that far from here), it wasn’t considered the cool thing to do, to get involved at York. I started participating in Frosh Week with my best friend at the time, but she ended up not coming for half the week, so I continued doing it by myself. [Frosh] opened up so many doors for me, I met so many people, learned about the campus and everything York has to offer. From my experience, I wanted to make sure that I had the opportunity to influence people the way I was influenced by my bosses [the student leaders during Orientation Week] and the people I met.
What were some of the challenges of the job? How did you deal with them?
I went into Frosh speaking a lot with last year’s Orientation Chair. I had a whole plan of what I wanted to do, what I wanted to put into it and what I wanted to get out of it. I didn’t realize not so much how much work goes into organizing the event, but how the other things happening in my life also influence what I’m doing at that moment. There’s a lot of external factors that I didn’t think of — for example, family, relationships and friends. There’s a bunch of things that influence my attitude and my work ethic — this was something I was ignorant about. One of the hardest things I had to deal with was balancing everything, considering how demanding Frosh is.
We started this series to break down the pressure the word “leader” elicits. What’s your idea of leadership?
Everyone is a leader in different aspects. No one can be a leader of every single thing — everyone is a leader in terms of what they know. For me, leadership is a matter of influence. It’s a matter of sharing your knowledge, sharing your experience and hopefully passing on some sort of information to other people to help them. It’s a circle of inspiration.
What have you taken from your experience at York so far?
A significant portion of what I’ve learned in university has come from my extracurriculars. Education is extremely important, but I think the College system and extracurriculars teach you things that you can’t learn in a classroom. My interaction with people has taught me a lot about the world, and a lot about different kinds of people. I’ve learned the most about inclusivity, which is something our President constantly strives for as well. I also strive to make sure that’s being maintained.
What’s your advice to current students who are apprehensive about getting involved?
It all comes down to remembering that every student at some point was in your situation. We often look at others and compare our lives to theirs. At the end of the day, we’re all university students, and we all [sometimes] feel lost and lonely. At the same time, with how big this campus is, there’s something for everyone and you can find that — whether you find it by saying hi to the person next to you in class, or going out of your comfort zone or joining a club. It’s a matter of putting yourself out there. It’s as simple as a hello — you never know who that person is or what connections they have with the campus. It’s all a matter of connection.
Great insights, Nadia! How do you define leadership? Get the conversation rolling in the comments or tweet me @yorkustudents!