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Student Leadership Showcase: Marisa Narotam

December 17, 2018

Peer Leader of the Month: Marisa NarotamMarisa Narotam, Third-year Legal Studies

Marisa Narotam was selected as the Peer Leader of the Month for November 2018.

What do you enjoy most about being a peer leader?

“I enjoy meeting so many different people. I’ve never made so many friends at once in university, so it’s amazing to feel like I’m friends with a lot of the other Peer Leaders, some of which are in my classes. I met Trudhy at Ignite while we were on face-paint duty together on the first day, and we are really good friends now which is awesome. It’s so nice to walk through the halls and say hi to so many familiar faces. I think that’s the best part… meeting new people and building friendships, I feel like it’s a really good experience.”

What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned in your time in university thus far?

“I think the greatest lesson I’ve learned is nothing worth having comes easy. I learned the hard way in my first year, I was in the wrong crowd with people who had different priorities than me. I guess I assumed that things would be as easy as high school coming into university. First year, I didn’t do so well academically, and it was a slap in the face. By the time second year started, I let go of that group of people, and I met my best friend who taught me all the correct study methods and how to manage time correctly. In second year, I worked my butt off and got all the grades I wanted to get. It wasn’t an easy process, I had to not go home some weekends, I had to give up working some weekends, had to pull all-nighters – but I learned that if you want something, you really have to be willing to sacrifice everything to achieve it.”

What advice would you give to your first-year self?

“I wouldn’t tell myself to regret how my first year went because I feel like it really taught me something. It taught me that nothing is easy and that you have to work for what you want. I wouldn’t tell myself don’t get involved with that group, or don’t do this, or don’t do that, because I’m really grateful for the lessons I did learn, and the fact that I learnt them early enough so that it wouldn’t affect what I wanted to do post-grad. I would tell myself to get more involved, because I feel like I could’ve taken myself out of that group earlier, or gotten my priorities straight earlier on. There’s this quote that I have as my phone background that really keeps me motivated, it says “you are your only limit”, which is something I really like to live by now, so I’d like to go back and tell myself that earlier on”

What would you say to someone who is looking to get involved?

“I would say, do it! You have nothing to lose, you only have experiences, friends, and memories to gain. I think getting involved has taught me a lot about leadership, responsibility, and being a part of something bigger than myself. It really teaches you how to show up for yourself and others, hold yourself accountable and work collaboratively. Leadership is based on helping each other, it’s not a one-man show, it’s a team. You feel better, more connected to the community and it helps you build your confidence in a way that you’re not afraid to talk to people, or reach out to people. I think most importantly, it gives you more of an open mind because you are experiencing so many different things and seeing so many different perspectives. It helps you see things from a new view and see things objectively, which is a great skill to have.”