Unlocking your potential in student government

Text that reads: I really think this is something I can use later.

When Maja Jocson first enrolled at the University of Guelph-Humber, student government was not on her mind.

Since she first started playing volleyball in fourth grade, Jocson was completely dedicated to her sport. She played throughout high school, and when she decided to attend U of GH’s Kinesiology program, she did so with the expectation of thriving as a student athlete who excelled both in class and on the court.

After suffering a serious injury in her last year of high-school, however, Jocson’s world changed. In Grade 12, Jocson was playing basketball when she partially tore her ACL, or the anterior cruciate ligament in her knee. Instead of getting surgery, she decided to wear a brace and continue playing volleyball, sometimes doing so in serious pain.

“I felt like I needed to be out there,” she recalled.

In April of that year, while at the provincial Ontario Volleyball Championships, Jocson fully tore her ACL and underwent surgery. Her first year at U of GH she spent in recovery, and although she would make the volleyball team here in her second year as an non-recruited walk-on, she was cut in her third.

When she didn’t make the team, at first she felt listless. That is, until she talked to a friend in Early Childhood Studies who had served on student government and strongly recommended the experience.

“When I didn’t make the team, I didn’t have anything to do and I was very depressed,” she recalled. “I felt like I wasn’t doing anything. So I thought: OK, let me do it.”

In her third year, Jocson served as program representative for Kinesiology, and loved getting involved, planning program events, getting to know students in different years and outside her program, and volunteering to make the University of Guelph-Humber a better place.

After her third year, she had the option of trying out again for the volleyball team or getting more deeply involved, and she chose student government.

She became vice-president of student activities with the Guelph-Humber Student Association, and again thrived. A year later, she had another tough choice: graduate or run for the new position within IGNITE of Vice-President of Student Affairs Guelph-Humber.

Once again, she chose to stay, and she doesn’t regret the decision.

“I knew I was really good at this and I wanted to keep doing it and make more connections,” she explained. “With this position, I’d get to work with the senior administration of the University of Guelph-Humber. I thought I’d take the leap and just do it.”

Among her priorities is the Fall Reading Break Campaign, with Jocson and her team looking into whether U of GH students want a break during the fall semester.

She also relishes working with the 14 academic program representatives and four student senators who are likewise putting their time into improving life at the University of Guelph-Humber. She’s so enjoyed the project management aspects of her role that she’s considering pursuing an MBA or a career in overseeing projects. She’s also still thinking about working in Kinesiology.

Either way, it no longer seems like such a bad thing that she didn’t make the volleyball team in third year.

“When I didn’t make the team, I was like, oh no, that’s my life. What am I going to do now?” she said. “But it worked out because I’m in student government. I’m getting so much more than I hoped I was going to when I came to this school.

“I really think this is something I can use later; the networks I’m creating, the skills I’m creating, it’s more than just playing. This is something I think will be beneficial for me after.”

Learn more about Student Government at the University of Guelph-Humber.

Learn more about Kinesiology at the University of Guelph-Humber.