The Manitoban: Opinion – From a basement on a hill

By Jakob Sanderson

I’m never going to know you now, but I’m going to love you anyhow,” sings Elliott Smith

I don’t think there is such a thing as a perfect leader. If there is, its definition eludes me and certainly excludes me. If there is, there shouldn’t be. What will always exist is room for improvement for those strong enough to seek it. Or, as my late grandfather said, “When you duff your drive or make a mistake, life is giving you all the more opportunity for a better second shot.”

Near the end of my first term as UMSU president and after my second election, I went to see a counsellor. My mental health was at an all-time low and I was falling into deeply unhealthy coping habits, something I thought I had previously escaped. I wasn’t sure whether I was looking for therapy, medication or someone to vent to, but I knew something had to change if I was going to survive, let alone be the type of leader I thought I could be or that students deserved.

By the end of the meeting, I was told by the counsellor that I likely just wasn’t cut out to be in a high-stress job and I should consider leaving my post.

I was at a crossroads and did not see any options. In reality, no amount of public pressure I thought I faced measured up to the amount of pressure I put on myself.

Read the full story here.

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