Our first term as Student Leaders

Mar 09, 2018Student Leadership Development Institute

By Patrick Gendaszek, Mercy Tolbert, and Stephanie Sinclair

From left to right: Stephanie Sinclair, Patrick Gendaszek, and Mercy Tolbert

Looking back on my first term as a Student Leader, I think about all the excitement I had for things like Welcome Home (freshman move-in weekend) and the group work of making the schedule for our hours. Move-in weekend was a blur because there was always something to do and people to meet. It was nice to be able to tell the new students who we are and that we are here to help. The Q&A session we hosted was great for being able to pass on the little tips for college life I had learned over the course of my associate degree.

After that, we had the first team meeting and made the schedule for our hours for the next ten weeks. I got one night in Operations and two shifts in the Library. Operations would not be much of a change for me, as I had just done two or more nights a week for the last fifty weeks. But, the Library was the thing I wasn’t sure about, as I had spent many a night and break there typing papers, much like I still do with papers and blogs to this day. Having never been the one on the other side of the desk, I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it. Turns out I loved it! It was a chance to meet new people and build a relationship with students I may otherwise never get to meet.

This is me looking back on my first term as a retrospective so that you can better understand the pride and importance that I, Patrick Gendaszek, as well as Stephanie Sinclair and Mercy Tolbert take in the new positions we find ourselves in.

-Patrick Gendaszek, Student Leader

Restaurant Management, Class of March 2019

The past five weeks of being a Student Leader have brought many lessons and experiences that I never expected. First off, having the opportunity to be a Student Leader is such a blessing and I’m very grateful for it. It assured me that my hard work is paying off, but I know that I still have more work to do. My Student Leader hours have consisted of only working in the back of the house in the restaurant on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. It was a great interest of mine to work with plating the desserts for the restaurant and I’ve been having a blast. I realized that my job is pretty important, because the plates that I put out are basically the last impression of each person’s dinner, so they have to look nice. With this in mind, I make sure to send out only desserts that are up to par and meet the standards that everyone expects.

Aside from my Student Leader hours, I’ve found that I am starting to build relationships with my fellow Student Leaders. I think we have a great group of people with great ideas and different skills and experiences. So far, we work together very well, and I can’t wait for the projects and events we’ll complete in the future.

I am really starting to get a feel for what to expect in the real world once I finish college. If I can go to my classes at the beginning of the week and then work and do my Student Leader hours at the end of the week, then I can certainly handle whatever life throws at me. It really is a lot to juggle, but it’s not at all impossible. Hard work, determination, and passion really are the keys to success, and being a Student Leader is helping me to learn how to apply them to my everyday life.

-Mercy Tolbert, Student Leader

Pastry Arts, Class of July 2019

My first term as a Student Leader has been a balance of teaching and learning from a unique perspective. I knew that I had gained a lot of knowledge from the associate program to be able to assist the students, but I did not realize how much I would be able to help out, especially during Restaurant Operations. Just last term, I was doing exactly what they had to do, like making drinks at the bar, polishing dishes in the kitchen, and running food to tables. After six terms of practicing and perfecting these tasks, I knew how much detail went into each one. In addition, I knew how boring it could be when there were no customers in the restaurant and everyone just had to wait for something to do. As a Student Leader, I have really tried to defeat that boredom by helping students perfect their knowledge of the Front of House so they understand how and why it is important to their field of study. Aside from teaching, I have also grown by learning from my instructors and the upperclassmen. Pat, my fellow Student Leader and mentor, has been encouraging me to speak up and be loud, despite my quiet nature. We are only halfway through the term, but I have noticed myself becoming vocal in situations where I would usually keep to myself. I have also found that my instructors have really been taking the time to show me things that they know will benefit me as a student and as a future manager. There is a lot of responsibility, time, and patience that goes into being a Student Leader, but I am very happy to be giving back to the other students and continuing to grow as a student myself.

-Stephanie Sinclair, Student Leader

Restaurant Management, Class of July 2019