Name: Abina Premachandran
Age: 19 Year and program: 3A BMath/BBA Double Degree
Current campus involvement: Math Federation Orientation Committee (FOC) 2016, President of the UW Tennis Club (UWTC), UW Student Ambassador
You’ve been pretty busy over the last year as FOC, UWTC President, and a Student Ambassador. Have you always been this involved on campus?
It’s kind of funny because the clubs I’m involved with aren’t really different, it’s only what I do in these clubs that has changed. For instance, my journey within the UWTC began in 1A when I became an executive for the club. The next term, I became the VP of Finance. In 2A, I became the President, and the current term is my third term in this role. Similarly, I was a Head Pink Tie orientation leader in 2A, which is the term I applied to be FOC for the following year. Finally, being an experienced guide at my residence (St Jerome’s) and volunteering as a tour guide for the Math Faculty on open houses was what made me interested in becoming a student ambassador.
Being a FOC is a huge responsibility. What made you want to take on such a big role in orientation?
I really enjoyed my experience as a Head Pink Tie leader. Being able to be one of the first people that the incoming math students got to interact with was an incredible feeling. After that Orientation Week as a Head Pink Tie, I wanted to do more, which is why I applied to become FOC. I really wanted to be in a role that directly influenced new student transition because I wanted the opportunity to make the first experience at Waterloo for many students a memorable one.
Before you became UWTC President, what was your involvement with the sport?
It feels like I’ve been playing tennis my whole life! My dad gave me my first racket when I was about 4 years old and I’ve been playing ever since. Even though I stopped playing competitively pretty early on, I became a certified instructor when I was 16. Since then, I’ve taught lessons at a number of private clubs, at a charity that provides inner-city children with free tennis lessons, and with the City of Toronto.
What exactly is a Student Ambassador?
In a nutshell, a Student Ambassador gives tours of the University of Waterloo campus to prospective students and their families. Sometimes we get to give tours to special groups, too. Just last week, I gave a tour to a group of university students from Mexico! Overall, the tour provides an idea of what it’s like to be a student here and the various resources available from UW.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned about campus from giving tours?
I know I’m involved with Campus Recreation here at UW because of UWTC, but only from being a student ambassador did I learn that we have one of the largest campus recreation programs in the country!
Do you have any advice for other students who are considering getting involved on campus?
I’ll share the advice I was given as a first-year that really stuck with me. The advice was to not be afraid to get involved; even if your grades are a couple percent lower because you didn’t spend all of your time studying, it’s worth it if you’re spending that time on an extracurricular you enjoy doing. Getting involved and meeting new people really make your university experience memorable, and I can honestly say that I don’t regret a thing.