A blog post by MA in Higher Education Leadership Student Ambassador Caitlin Hayles
Graduate Student Organizations at USD are a fantastic way to find community while developing your skills. I am currently in my second year of the Higher Education Leadership program and I am also on the SOLES Graduate Student Association (SGSA) team. My favorite thing about getting involved with student orgs has been meeting so many wonderful and impressive people. This opportunity has allowed me to connect with other students in SOLES outside of my own program, something I really struggled with in my first year. I have also been able to meet students from programs throughout USD through the Graduate Student Council (GSC) meetings and other collaborations. In just a few months, my community at USD has at least doubled.
I have also been really excited about the different skills I’ve been able to practice that aren’t always incorporated into my coursework or my job. A great example is student advocacy. In SGSA, I am able to come together with my peers and discuss different issues facing students. As a group, we talk about what is going on and, as student leaders, what we can do to support our peers and make changes within the university. This is something that has made me feel closer to the SGSA group, building upon the community we have. It has also prepared me for difficult conversations in professional settings, making me feel more confident about advocating for myself in future roles that I will have in my professional career.
There have been so many other benefits to participating in SGSA. I am so grateful to be working with such a strong group of students. If anyone is looking to broaden their community, I highly recommend joining a student organization. Even if you don’t have the time to take on a leadership role, you can always join as a member!