Thursday, May 11, 2017

A decade of leadership: Student Ambassadors celebrate 10-year milestone

David Denofreo photo
This year, the Douglas College Student Ambassadors mark a milestone with their 10-year anniversary.
Though it may be the largest and longest-running student-leadership program at Douglas, the program had humble beginnings. What started with 12 students who volunteered to assist with graduation in 2007 turned into a thriving group that now boasts 500 alumni.
To mark the anniversary, Douglas College is highlighting five notable alums. First up is Iloradanon Efimoff, Bachelor of Arts in Applied Psychology grad. Efimoff is currently attending the University of Saskatchewan where she is completing her Masters in Psychology.

What drew you to the Student Ambassador program?
I initially joined the student ambassadors to get some volunteer experience on my resumé.

What was your first experience with the ambassadors like?
My first experience was the pre-semester phone calling to prospective students. This definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone, as I used to be quite shy. After a couple hours of calling people, my conversations went from scripted and hedging to informational and humorous. I gained so much from so little time – it was my first session and I was already gaining skills! It felt like one of those bogus miracle cure commercials – results were immediate.

What did you gain from being an Ambassador?
As mentioned above, I started the program quite shy. I remember turning bright red in the face every time a professor would ask me a question, an unfortunate reaction carried over from high school. I was uncomfortable with public speaking; I stuttered, spoke too fast, went red and shook all over. After four years in the program, I was very comfortable in front of a crowd. I was even comfortable in my last year presenting to a room of more than 100 students, with only an hour or so to prepare.

Most importantly, I created several long-lasting relationships from the program, including several diverse friendships. I have used these connections and the network built through the Student Ambassador program to get me places. For example, staff at The Office for New Students have consistently provided me with references that have gotten me jobs, which gave me the experiences I needed to get into graduate school, in my program of choice, with full funding. I won't oversell and say the Student Ambassador program is what got me into graduate school directly, but it was definitely a big part of me building the skills I needed to get accepted and to thrive in my program.