Lessons I Learned from my first semester as Associated Students President

I am so honored and excited to begin my second semester of being Associated Students President. This position has challenged me in all the best possible ways. It felt like I was learning a new life lesson every week, which is equally exhausting and life giving at the same time. Here are some lessons I learned that I will share with next year’s president elect (and my spring semester self for that matter). 

Find your happy place. This type of job will stretch you and shrivel you up to degrees you never thought possible of a student. Find your happy place, know when you need to go there, and allow yourself to block out everything else when you are there. It might be at the center of your yoga mat, cracking open a cold one with your best friend, or watching the sunset. Whatever it is, treasure it because at times it will feel like the only thing that will keep you sane. 

Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Working with administration can be empowering yet daunting. But you can’t survive without them, and vice versa. It may seem like those professionals haven’t been in your shoes for ages, but that also means it isn’t their first time around the block. Lean on the GAs for a more relatable perspective if need be. 

Find a critical friend. This piece of advice was given to me by one of my good friends and colleagues at the beginning of my term. This usually isn’t the same person you ask if that pair of jeans makes your butt look big because you need to find someone who will be brutally honest with you and bring you back down from planet crazy. Mine has saved me from a mutiny.. or two. 

The top is lonely. I tried to avoid clichés, but this one rings truer than true. No one will understand the situations, predicaments, expectations, and responsibilities placed on you. Only your predecessors will understand. Use them. I didn’t lean on them enough. 

The office is a vortex. Beware. I succumbed to the luxury and ease of having a place to block out the real world and get down to business. There were far too many late nights (err early mornings) at the office where I lost myself in the work. Always remember that your work is to be with the students, and you can’t do that if you’re locked up in your office. 

Don’t take it personally. When that guy in your accounting class is in a toga costume is running down Mission Blvd don’t get down that you represent him. When someone tells you they haven’t found their niche or doesn’t feel like your school is home don’t take it personally. Instead use the resources you’ve been equipped with over your college career to help them figure out what’s best for them. 

Managing People is Difficult. It will sometimes feel easier to just do the work yourself, but that isn’t helpful for you or your supervisee. Instead, use these times as a “teach a man/woman to fish” moment so they know how to do better next time (without you).

People won’t believe you don’t have a parking spot. “No way!” They’ll say. “You spend more hours here than most of the faculty” they’ll say. “But really, you can tell me you have one” they’ll say. To set the record straight, there is no presidential parking privilege. I dread the West Lot as much as any other student. 

Change doesn’t happen in a year. This position will often feel like climbing a mountain and you won’t ever get to the top. Those big ideas your promised constituents during the campaign might not come to fruition for another 2, 5 or 10 years. But recognize your place in the larger picture and always keep climbing.

Pray, a lot. I like this one: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Even when giving your best doesn’t seem like enough, it is. Truth.

You wouldn’t want to be doing anything else but this. There is a reason why you are here and not someone else. The stress, shenanigans and fun are all a part of the job and it makes sense. You can’t picture spending your senior year any other way. Plus, it’s a pretty cool gig. 

Falliday Adventures

This past weekend I was up in San Francisco for falliday (fall holiday weekend) and loved every second of it. My best friend, Jordan, and I drove up Thursday afternoon for the long weekend.

Falliday

We embraced the cooler weather, ate some delicious food, and explored a few of the culturally diverse neighborhoods in the city. One of my buddies that graduated from USD a few years ago threw a Halloween party on Saturday night at his new place in the city so Jordan and I joined in on the festivities. It was surreal to be surrounded by post-grads; post-grads who were happy. There is hope! They were excited to be in the work force and weren’t slowed down by the “nightmare” of the economy and hellish job market that my ears have been accustomed to hearing, especially as a senior, over the past couple of years.

I received some of the best advice from a mail order groom that night (really, it was just a really clever costume). He told me that life doesn’t have to stop being awesome after graduation. You just take what you learned, take what you love, and apply it to a new situation. It might not be the ideal first job out of college, but it’s a job. And it will help get you where you want to go. The Post-grad bunch made life after college not seem quite as frightening as their costumes that night.

The lesson reminds me of the Mr. Opportunity Honda commercials. Mr. Opportunity will be knocking real soon, and I’ll be ready.

PS – My apologies for not blogging in a few weeks. Being busy is truly over glorified. My friend, Mandy, wrote a blog post about this phenomenon here that is definitely worth a read:

http://usdgreeklife.blogspot.com/2013/07/glorified-busy.html

Mr. Opportunity is knocking! Join me for a “Networking with the Professionals” Workshop on Nov. 6th. Register here: http://toreronetwork.sandiego.edu/s/1374/alumni/index.aspx?sid=1374&pgid=1587&gid=2&cid=2703&ecid=2703&post_id=0

 

You are Perfect with Your Imperfections

Truth be told, I was planning to write this specific post a little bit later in the year, but my “halo” got a few dings this weekend, so it seemed fitting.

On last Friday when my housemate, Alex, and I were switching car positions in our tandem garage (thank you Mission Beach) I scraped the whole back right side of my car on the white pole that protects you from hitting the wall. On the bright side, I didn’t hit the wall. However, my car has a nice white spot now or “love blemish” as my mom called it.

Image

During my yoga class on Monday night, my instructor shared her mantra for the week, which is “you are perfect with your imperfections.” I said it over and over in my head as I failed miserably trying to balance on my elbows in crow pose.

I think my mom and my yoga instructor got it right by embracing imperfections. Life is messy and we all have imperfections. I drive a car that is almost as old as I am, I have worries about paying back my student loans, and I feel the pressure to fit in at USD.

USD seems like paradise. The grass isgreener than green. Every building, fixture, and decoration matches. We have a grounds crew that works incredibly hard to keep our campus looking pristine. It sometimes feels like I go to school at a museum! But our student body is much more alive than a stale museum exhibit.

I strongly believe that you should define your surroundings, and not let your surroundings define you. So I encourage you to walk on the grass, sit on the ancient pharaoh-like chairs, andhang out in Garden of the Sea. Be bold, be daring, be courageous, be you

Embrace your love blemishes; it’s what makes you and our campus unique.

Welcome Home Toreros!

Fellow Toreros,

980 days. Give or take, those are all the days that we have in college. If you’re a sophomore you only have 735 left. If you’re a junior you have 490. If you’re a senior you still have 245. How we spend our days is truly how we live our lives. 

No matter where you are in your college journey, it is my pleasure to welcome you to a new year at the University of San Diego. Our campus is always pretty, but our campus is beautiful when all of you are here.

For those of us arriving to campus, September marks a coming home. Back to delicious meals at the SLP, student organization meetings, and yearlong beach weather. For those of you in the global community, let the world be your classroom! We can’t wait to welcome you back home and hear about everything you have learned in this transformative experience.

I encourage you to spend one of your days at the Alcalá Bazaar on Tuesday, September 10th from 11:30am – 2:30pm on Torero Way. The Bazaar is a USD tradition that brings all of our clubs and organizations together to provide students with information on how to get involved, as well as information about upcoming events and activities. I also invite you to attend the “Welcome Week” events. AS and TPB have been planning a number of activities for new and returning students over the next 12 days. 

I am honored to serve you as President of Associated Students this year. As your student government representatives, AS is here to make sure you have the best possible experience at USD and focuses on two facets of student life – policy and programming. Stop by our table at the Bazaar or visit us on the 3rd floor SLP and introduce yourself! Also, be sure to like the Associated Students Facebook page to stay in the loop on everything AS and the Torero Program Board Facebook page so you don’t miss any campus-wide event updates.

I am excited for what is in store this year at USD because truly, the best is yet to come.

Stay Blue,

Alex Hermann, ‘14
AS President

Welcome Back – Faculty & Administration

Faculty, Staff, and Administration,

On behalf of the Associated Students team and the student body, I would like to welcome you to the 2013-2014 school year. My name is Alex Hermann and I am honored to serve as President of Associated Students. Associated Students (AS) is here to ensure that our undergraduates have the best possible experience at USD by focusing on two facets of student life – policy and programming. We recognize and appreciate the incredible commitment to our students’ experience that each of you makes as mentors, educators, and role models. USD would not be the place it is today without a faculty, staff, and administration that demonstrates such fidelity and passion for what they do on a daily basis. Each of you plays a key role in making our campus welcoming and inclusive, and also by encouraging our students to build community, get involved, and create positive social change in the world.

I would like to introduce this year’s AS Executive Board and Torero Program Board Chair:

President: Alex Hermann (Communication Major)
Vice President: Coral Anderson
 (Finance Major)
Speaker of the Senate: Trent Mendenhall 
(Neuroscience Major)
Finance Chair: Mallory Collins
 (Marketing Major)
Communication Chair: Colby Edson 
(Finance Major)
Torero Program Board Chair: Marc Gonzales 
(Marketing Major)

We are incredibly excited for the year ahead! Please do not hesitate to reach out to myself or anyone on the AS team throughout the year to share suggestions or feedback you hear from students. Our team structure and contact information can be found on our Associated Students website.

Go Toreros!

Alex Hermann, ‘14
AS President

Tomorrow is Too Far Away

First Day of School: Then and Now

When I began college 3 years ago, I had no idea what to expect. I was nervous about classes, scared to navigate a new campus, eager to make friends, and anxious to discover myself. Each day since then has been an adventure.

I have loved the first day of school ever since the 1st grade. My mom loves to tell the story about how, on my first day of school, I introduced myself to the entire class as my first name “Alex” my middle name “Xander” and my last name “Hermann.” The first lesson I learned in school was my middle name was “John” and my full first name was “Alexander.” Nonetheless, I still look forward to starting school each year.

It’s hard to believe that this week is my last, first day of school (for now at least). My love for syllabus week comes from reuniting with friends, meeting new classmates, and studying at the most beautiful campus in the country. But this year is a little different. As senior year quickly approaches, I am jealous of all the college freshmen across the nation (my younger brother, Andrew, included) who are just beginning the best years of their lives. As I helped move incoming freshmen into Maher this past weekend, I couldn’t help but smile with envy for the adventures that lie ahead of them.

My adventure began 3 years ago on the University Ministry pre-orientation retreat. The last 3 years were filled with amazing friends, unforgettable experiences, and no regrets. I have found a community and support system at USD that I will always be thankful for and that I hope never slips away. This year is a great year to be at USD, and I’m excited for one last year on Alcalá Park.

This campus has truly become my home (as it has for many others), and I can’t wait for my classmates and friends (that really feel more like family) to return, so I can welcome them back on the first day of school.

 

Stay blue,

 

Alex