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SFU Community Engagement Associate
SFU Student

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Whether you want to join to meet others or to gain insights into leadership (the two aren’t mutually exclusive) the program is amazing.

Welcome to the first instalment in a new series that seeks to focus on Passport to Leadership alumni. Passport to Leadership is a program that delivers a series of six interactive workshops on a range of relevant leadership topics. But what happens after those six sessions? What can participants of the program do once they’ve completed the program and received that shiny certificate? I’ve caught up with several P2L alumni to answer these questions.

First, let’s meet Michael Thorburn, a Political Science student who is looking to go to law school after graduation.

1. When you did you first take Passport to Leadership?

I took Passport to Leadership during my third year of university.

2. What were you like when you first took Passport to Leadership?

Prior to taking P2L I was somewhat shy (I still am, but less so) and generally felt detached and isolated while at SFU. I found P2L on MyInvolvement and decided to take a chance and apply in an effort to improve my university experience. Fortunately, it turned out to exceed my expectations in almost all ways possible.

3. What were some of the most important/valuable things that you learned in the program?

P2L taught me one of the most important lessons I carry to this day: “How to continue forwards in the face of minor setbacks.” It’s funny, I originally was much more melodramatic in expressing my lessons from P2L (i.e. I previously said it ‘taught me to fail’), but in reality, the program gave me the experience to know that it’s really tough to outright ‘fail’ a volunteer experience. Rather, there will be temporary setbacks that people must learn from and improve upon.

4. How have you been able to apply what you learned from Passport to Leadership to your life?

I constantly am aware of not letting minor setbacks pull me away from success. Whether it’s used to help keep me motivated in my current line of volunteer work, or to calm myself when thinking about post-graduation options, it helps to know that outright failure is unlikely to occur so long as I continue to press onwards and learn from my mistakes.

5. What are you up to now?  

I’m currently a member of the Engagement Peer Educators. We have outreach events and consultation sessions in order to help SFU students become more aware of opportunities that engage the campus and throughout the community. I chose to sign up as an Engagement Peer Educator in order to help students reach an epiphany, just like I did during Passport to Leadership. It is my hope is to support those students that are yearning to connect with the community that they are looking for.

6. What advice would you give to students currently in the P2L program, or to students considering embarking on their leadership journey?

To the students considering P2L: Go for it. As I stated before, participating in P2L had a positively transformative effect on my university experience. Whether you want to join to meet others or to gain insights into leadership (the two aren’t mutually exclusive) the program is amazing. To the students in P2L: Try to approach the program with an open mind and a willingness to put in hard work. I’ll admit, at times it may seem difficult, but the entire experience ends up being invaluable and worthwhile.

Stay tuned for future installments of the P2L Alumni Series! In the meantime, don’t hesitate to tweet me if you have any questions, or set up an Engagement consultation with Michael on MyInvolvement to learn more about Engagement opportunities. 

SFU Community Engagement Associate
SFU Student

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