Campus Celebrity: Ashique Hossain

McGill, meet Ashique Hossain! Having been involved in a whole list of clubs, and taking on the role of DECA's President for fall of 2015, he knows what it's like to have a pretty full plate. Aside from his numerous leadership roles, he still finds time to jam and relax with friends. How does he do it? Read on to find out more about Ashique's time-management strategies, inspirations, and the clubs he's involved in!


Cleona Tsang for Her Campus McGill (HC McGill): Hi, Ashique! So tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from and what are you currently majoring/minoring in at McGill?

Ashique Hossain (AH): I moved to the States from Bangladesh when I was really young, and we later relocated to Ottawa, Ontario, which is where I grew up. I'm one of those “U1 undecided” people, and I'm not quite sure where I'll be by the time I graduate. My interests lie in life science and computer science, so I aim to shape my degree around those subjects.

HC McGill: Tell us about your (numerous) involvements at McGill. Which was your first and why did you decide to join?

AH: I've been involved with several clubs at McGill, but most significantly DECA, EUS Junior Council, and HackMcGill. DECA is our school's biggest interdisciplinary leadership development club. Our main goal is to improve our delegates' soft-skills through workshops, seminars, and case competitions. HackMcGill is one of  the largest student groups at McGill, and we aim to be an inclusive space for people of all backgrounds to come together, learn about programming, and build cool things together. EUS Junior Council is a group aimed at holding events for first year engineering students' to help them get adjusted to life at McGill, and is run mostly by first years. This was the first group I joined at McGill and I can honestly say it changed the way I look at leadership and has taught me more than I ever could have imagined about myself. I originally decided to join because I enjoyed the idea of working to help make life easier for my own community of first years, but the club has since become a huge part of my life and I am eager to see it grow as the years pass.

HC McGill: Who are your biggest inspirations, or heroes, I should say?

AH: Though there are many others, I'd say one of the people I admire the most is Chris Hadfield. He was the first Canadian astronaut to become captain of the International Space Station, and was the first person to really bring the marvels of space to the younger generation and to the general public. I think his drive to improve himself and the fact that he remains so humble while accomplishing so much is truly inspirational.

HC McGill: DECA seems like a pretty huge commitment. How has your role in DECA shaped and perhaps helped you grow in your personal and academic life?

AH: DECA has been incredibly important to my university experience so far. I started off in first year as a normal member, and in second year I was the VP Sponsorship. The case competitions, trainings, and workshops that I've been able to attend and plan through this club have really brought me out of my shell and improved my abilities to interact with and speak to people. Next year, I am honoured to be the president of DECA McGill, and my goal is to provide all of our delegates with an amazing and rewarding experience during their time here.

HC McGill: What do you find most attractive about DECA, the EUS Council, and Hack?

AH: DECA initially attracted me because I wanted to improve my interview and public speaking skills, but the fun times I've had and great friends I've made have turned the club into a huge part of my life.

EUS Junior Council initially attracted me because it was aimed specifically towards first years looking to get involved, and it provided so many great resources for incoming engineers, including social activities, networking opportunities, and exam prep sessions. It will always hold a special place in my heart, it is really what got me into leadership and has  introduced me to many of my now closest friends.

HackMcGill really impressed me with its scale and novelty. I think very few student groups have went from simply being an idea to having a 1000+ member community and hosting events for over 600 attendees in only six months. We also host Hack101 events, where we teach practical programming skills to people (of all faculties) with minimal coding experience, and as someone who was just starting to learn programming, this was a great opportunity. I'm so excited to see what the future holds for this club and I'm thankful to be playing a role in it.

HC McGill: Tell us about McHacks! It seems really cool.

A.H.: McHacks is seriously cool. Hackathons are essentially programming competitions where students, mentors, and professionals from numerous schools and organizations come together, network, build projects, and compete. They vary in size, scale, competitiveness, and theme, but are all united by the attendees' (called hackers) common drive to be innovative and create interesting things. McHacks was Canada's first hackathon back in 2014, with 500 hackers from across Canada and the United States attending, and in this year's edition, we had over 700 hackers attend. The coolest thing is that these events are entirely free for students, and transportation to and from the event is often subsidized. This means that students can participate regardless of their socioeconomic status, and I think that makes these events that much more awesome. Anyone with an interest in coding should definitely check us out at this website

HC McGill: With school and everything else on your plate, what are some ways you like to de-stress during the semester?

AH: Music is definitely my favourite way to relax when things get stressful. I'm not talented by any means, but I enjoy singing and playing guitar with my friends. I also like exploring new genres and languages of music in my spare time, and I'm always open to suggestions for songs to listen to!

HC McGill: What is some advice you would give about joining clubs or time management, especially for first year students?

AH: I remember how hard it was to choose commitments in first year. My advice would be to reflect on causes, activities, or groups that you are passionate about, and to join at least one of them. McGill is really a special place because of the amazing initiatives our students take, and I think everyone should join something. Check out activities night if you're not sure what's out there - it's worth the wait!

Time management can be tough, and it's easy to over-commit in first year. My advice would be to budget your time, just as you do with money. Try to set a schedule ahead of time, and make sure you account for classes, meetings, events, and leisure. I would try not to be involved in more than two to three clubs, as schedules become very hectic beyond that point.

If you'd like to get involved in any of the organizations I've mentioned, please reach out to me through LinkedIn or email! I'd love to introduce you to these amazing clubs!


Images provided by interviewee