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Get involved with SGA

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Get involved with SGA

USA SGA offers students a variety of ways to get involved with campus life.

USA SGA offers students a variety of ways to get involved with campus life.

Muqit Asif Khan

USA SGA offers students a variety of ways to get involved with campus life.

Muqit Asif Khan

Muqit Asif Khan

USA SGA offers students a variety of ways to get involved with campus life.

Shannon Lundren, Editor-in-Chief

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Getting involved with SGA at the University of South Alabama introduced me to people who helped me improve my social skills and gave me new opportunities. This is why I encourage any eligible students to apply for the open transfer-at-large and College of Medicine SGA senate positions.  Interested candidates can submit their applications via OrgSync until Sept. 8 at 11:45 p.m.

I came to USA as a older, non-traditional transfer student. At Bishop State Community College, I went to class with students aged 16 to 79. At USA, it seemed like I was surrounded by a sea of young, fresh faces.

I struggled for a way to connect with my classmates. In the classroom at USA, I endured snide put-downs from other students who mocked my age. I came home in tears, wondering how I would ever fit in or if life at USA was something to simply survive.

Joining SGA taught me that very few students cared about my age. In the SGA, my age and the characteristics that went with it earned me respect. Others on the SGA appreciated my work ethic, willingness to get involved and no-nonsense personality; all traits that are a function of my age.

As an introvert with social anxiety, my social skills could use some help. Being in SGA let me observe people who gracefully interacted with others.

One day, in the SGA office, I met a young man on the First-Year Council. We chatted for a few moments, then he excused himself to mingle. Before he did so, he asked me if I knew the name of a nearby SGA member. I told him that I did not know her name. He consulted the photos of SGA members on the wall, picked out the correct person and introduced himself to her. It blew my mind. It never crossed my mind to do that. I saw the woman smile when the FYC member introduced himself to her and address her by name. Remembering names makes people feel appreciated. That is only one example of the social skills I picked up in SGA.

Ironically, I do not remember the name of the FYC member who taught me this skill, but if you’re reading this: thank you.

Joining SGA opened up other opportunities for me indirectly. In February, I applied for a reporter position with The Vanguard. Alanna Whittaker, the former Editor-in-Chief, later told me that she hired me in part because of my experience with SGA. I also feel reasonably confident that when I later applied for EIC, the fact that I understood how SGA works helped me land this job.

I will always be grateful to the 2016-2017 SGA for welcoming me. They showed me that USA is made up of kind people and taught me lessons that you can’t learn from a book. Being on the SGA lead me to where I am today – to being EIC of The Vanguard. I’m excited to see what opportunities will continue to open up for me as a result of that one decision to step out of my comfort zone and apply to be on SGA.

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