Owen Cherry/ The Mainstream
Vyla Grindberg, ASUCC Business Manager

Last year, being my first year at Umpqua Community College, I kept to myself for the most part, content to keep building on my successes. To me, originally that meant simply graduating and doing the best I could do in my classes to get a job. It was small things that I kept doing – moving to take an internship, going to Engineering Club, and then becoming a representative to go to these meetings so our club could get some extra income. Even at that point I didn’t realize what I was capable of – I didn’t realize the hidden potential that was inside of me being a leader.

I’ve grown up often times following in the footsteps of others. I’ve tried to move to managerial roles in previous jobs, only to be told that I wasn’t a good match, so maybe I was best in a grunt role. Put my head down, and the work will help guarantee what I wanted – stability and a good job. Leadership never suited me, after all, I told myself.

I’ve made friends with the small amount of branching out on campus I was doing, unknowingly setting myself up for a big surprise in my life. I had someone that was also looking into getting further into student leadership, and they took me aside. “Have you thought about running for a position on the ASUCC leadership team,” I was asked. All I could do was answer that with a series of umms and uhhs… This feeling of knowing that I wasn’t meant to be a leader suddenly came up, and I felt this conflict of what I was told about myself and to keep moving forward with new opportunities. I wasn’t going to be good at this, I thought.

But someone had faith in me, even if I didn’t have faith in me. That small push, someone that I got to know little by little, board game night by board game night, started to build something in me. She began to sell me on my own self, without me knowing. I later agreed to run as ASUCC Business Manager, without any understanding of what I was doing, what the position was about, and what to even run on. It’s an interesting tact, that… most people run on platforms that they believe in. I was running on the one thing that I could believe in… myself and others to be part.

I still remember the first speech I gave to people in the cafeteria – no notes, no idea of what I was going to say. I bumbled through it, mostly by sheer will to try something different and something new. By the end of the speech though, I realize I hit on something that was incredibly important… I was running on being involved, and that it’s something anyone and everyone should do.

I’m going to fast-forward to this year. I’ve had a successful time so far as ASUCC Business Manager. I’ve found that being a leader is someone that others can look up to in the school; and providing student services has been such a wonderful part of my life. I can’t fathom having skipped out on this opportunity, as well as the camaraderie that I’ve had with so many others being in this position. I also have a lot of other things going on as well – Engineering Club President, another internship, and a part-time opportunity with CWT.

We’ve had some difficulties this year, though with student leadership. I’ve felt so incredibly blessed working with this team, but we need help. We’ve been able to fill in the Vice President role as of this term, but we are actively looking for senators to help us out. Ensuring that we can work hard on student services, and keeping engagement high with activities takes a lot to do with such a small team. That’s why I needed to think what drew me to leadership in the first place, and apply it to others.

You are all leaders out there in UCC, whether you realize it or not. I didn’t think I was, and I like to think with the support that I’ve had with my fellow students, administration, and faculty, I’ve become everything I’m capable of. And I believe in you all as well to provide your own uniqueness, and to invite you towards student leadership as well! Utilizing your own voice, and participating together with an outstanding team will end up being one of the most fulfilling parts of not just your college experience, but a lifelong memory. I know mine will.

-Vyla Grindberg, ASUCC Business Manager