By: Katherine Rushby
Many students who want to make a difference on campus become involved in student politics (or protests, for anyone familiar with McGill…), but not a huge number can boast that they actively make the campus a safer place. McGill has many safety-oriented groups and organizations, from Walk Safe to SACOMSS (Sexual Assault Centre of the McGill Students’ Society) to McGill Nightline, so when one of my co-workers told me she was mid-interview-process to become part of M-SERT (the McGill Student Emergency Response Team), I thought she would make a perfect Campus Celebrity.
Impressively well-rounded for a U1 student, Julia, already balancing school and a part-time job with grace and the best humour, decided that she wanted to get involved in something in her spare time which would make a difference around McGill. Her enthusiasm for everything she commits to is absolutely infectious (much like her smile!), and from our first conversation about M-SERT and its application process, it was clear how genuinely excited she was at the prospect of becoming part of such a student organization with such positive intentions. Read on to learn more about Julia’s involvement with M-SERT, and some of her tips for balancing schoolwork and other commitments.
Name: Julia Borghesi
Program & Year: History, U1
Favourite class taken at McGill: Popular Music after 1945 (yes I know it’s a bird course but I loved it)
If you could re-experience your first year at McGill, what’s something you would do differently? I would’ve loved to see more of Montreal, [but] that would have involved being on top all of work which is easier said than done! I only saw Notre Dame and Old Montreal a couple of months ago and can’t believe I hadn’t been down there sooner.
What made you so determined/excited to become a part of M-SERT? The determinedness was definitely my competitive side coming out, there was a huge group of people that applied this year and I was set on being the best and making the team. I was excited because MSERT was a chance to join a club that really does make a difference (super cliché, I know), but there was something [appealing] about the fact that I got to learn first aid, which is an invaluable skill, and have the chance to help out my fellow students, which is a great feeling. Also, the people on the team are amazing, [and] I think I can safely said I’ve made a few new friends.
Most valuable thing you’ve learned so far from being part of M-SERT? Organization is key; you have to learn to make time for MSERT and all the responsibilities it comes with, but also work, and then time for yourself too. That’s super important.
Your tips on maintaining some semblance of balance between academics, work, & leisure: I schedule things like crazy. Every day in my agenda I like to make time slots for different things. It’s extremely neurotic but actually really helps. I find though that being a part of something non-academic actually helps you when it comes to sitting down and getting work done; I could never get anything done if I just stared at my course packs and textbooks all day doing the same thing.
What do you wish you had more time for? Cooking extravagant meals for my roommates and I. [I would] also need a lot more money in my budget for that one, but I love cooking and so do my roommates. We cooked thanksgiving dinner last semester [and] it took us two full days but it was so not stressful, [and] it was nice to just forget about school and cook some delicious food.
What you do to relax: I make a cup of tea and sit down and watch an episode of netflix (well try to watch ONLY one, that darn next episode button gets me all the time) or I have a book I’m into right now, non-academic, and I just sit back in bed and read.
Something on your 2014 bucket list: American Road trip with my girlfriends back home in Vancouver (We’re in the process of planning this one so it shall definitely be ticked off my list!)