By: Michelle Pasko
When I first came to Rutgers, I was so eager to get involved in clubs and organizations, but couldn’t help feeling like a little fish in a giant, 4-campus-wide pond. I knew what many of the organizations stood for, but couldn’t help but wonder—how will I leave my own mark?
In getting involved, I found I grew to be the kind of student leader I looked up to as a wide-eyed new student. I went from sitting in the general member seat, to standing in front of a room of inspirational individuals; from finding a mentor, to being one. In my time at Rutgers, I’ve hosted my own service days for organizations and planned large-scale service events, helped hundreds of students navigate their way through Basic Composition and Expository Writing, and soon, I’ll be teaching the same Exploring Education seminar I took as a first-year student.
My involvements have changed my perspective on what it means to be a leader, and challenged my perceptions on students and education. Being a Student Leader is so much more than a label on a resume or twitter bio—it’s a full time commitment, a promise to yourself and to all those around you. As with all things, though, the dedication is worth the struggle. I know that one day, when I am leading my own classroom; I will be prepared with the skills I learned within Rutgers Student Life. I feel more than ready to stand my ground and command a class, analyze situations with keen problem solving skills, and hope to inspire others the way so many have inspired me.
Doing service and working amongst passionate individuals with common goals pushed me to put my best foot forward at all times. I realized that the most selfless actions—standing on my feet for 30 hours for Dance Marathon or spending extra time in an organization’s office to ensure work gets done—brought me the most happiness and peace. Coming to Rutgers, I considered myself a shy and quiet individual, but when I leave, I will consider myself exuberant and capable of anything I put my mind to. None of this would be possible if I hadn’t gotten involved, and I consider myself lucky everyday for all the opportunities I have been given.
Michelle Pasko is a School of Arts and Sciences junior studying English, and has recently been accepted the Graduate School of Education 5-year K-12 English Education program. Michelle is currently a Service Event Coordinator for the Student Volunteer Council, a Writing Coach through the Rutgers Learning Center, and homework grader for Math 106. Her passion for education and helping students has led her through all of these amazing opportunities, and she is very excited to be a teaching a FIGS course on Exploring Education next Fall. Michelle also loves writing and starting each day with a cup of coffee and listening to a few Taylor Swift songs.