Posted April 12, 2021
For Trinity student Mailey Jean Michel, the student experience should be one that promotes diversity, unity and a sense of belonging. This culminated from Mailey’s own experience living in residence in first year, where she felt excluded from social aspects of student life. Going into her third-year in September 2020, Mailey wanted to effect change. She wanted to make the residence experience – one that shaped her university experience – a safe, inclusive and welcoming place for students. So that spring, she applied for and was hired to be one of nine Community Advisor (CA) for the 2020-2021 academic year. Due to her outstanding community building work and leadership as a CA, Mailey – who will enter her fourth year in Rotman Commerce in September – will return to take on the Senior CA role for 2021-2022. Learn more about the CA program here.
We sat down (virtually) with Mailey to find out more about her role as a CA and what life is like living on campus amid the pandemic.
Trinity College (TC): Why were you interested in being a Community Advisor for 2020-21?
Mailey Jean Michel (MJM): During my first year, I felt underrepresented in the college and in leadership roles and that really made me feel excluded. It was also difficult for me to transition into the social aspects of university. I often found it overwhelming as I didn’t have any guidance. I was really interested in this role because I wanted to ease the difficult transition for first-year students and help foster a sense of community here at Trinity College.
TC: Can you talk about your main responsibilities?
MJM: As a Community Advisor, I am given an amazing opportunity to plan social and academic programming that meet the needs of different Trinity students. I always try my best to make myself available to students in order to address their personal concerns or questions. I also conduct regular check-ins through one-on-one meetings. Finally, I help maintain a safe and inclusive community that promotes a sense of belonging for all students.
TC: Amid the pandemic, how have you and your fellow CAs kept the residence community engaged and supported?
MJM: I understand how difficult the pandemic has been for many students hence, ensuring their mental well-being has been a priority of mine this school year. In order to do this, I have organized various virtual events such as cookie decorating, games nights, bubble tea and many more. I am extremely passionate about inclusivity; therefore, I try to make my events as diverse as possible to meet the needs of the different individuals that live in residence. Furthermore, I also try to build personal relationships with everyone on my floor, as it’s really important to feel like there’s someone that you can count on during these unprecedented times.
TC: What is the most rewarding, and the most challenging, aspects of your CA role?
MJM: I’ve really enjoyed being a CA so far and there are so many things that have made my experience here amazing. First, I’ve met many new students that I wouldn’t have otherwise known if it wasn’t for this position. The most rewarding aspect has been the positive feedback from students informing me that they enjoyed an activity that I planned or that I helped solve a problem they encountered.
The most challenging part of being a CA is getting students engaged in the various activities that I plan. I understand that some people are more introverted therefore, they might not be interested in some of the activities that I plan. I make it my responsibility to let them know that there are various activities available to them and I am always here for them if ever need my help or support.
TC: Along with being a CA, you were a member of the Trinity College Task Force on Anti-Black Racism and Inclusion – can you talk about your experience?
MJM: Being a member of the Task Force has been an extremely meaningful experience. It brought out many challenging conversations and has allowed me to voice my concerns about the discrimination that BIPOC students have faced at Trinity. I am hopeful that these recommendations will allow us to create a more inclusive and accepting environment at Trinity College for the future generation of BIPOC students.
TC: What advice do you have for students as the academic year comes to a close?
MJM: As this intense and stressful academic year comes to an end, I think that students should prioritize their mental well-being and make the best of their summer break. It is extremely important to maintain a good work life balance. This can be done by staying active, going on walks, getting enough sleep or even taking the time to do something that makes them happy.
TC: SINCE THE START OF THE PANDEMIC, WHAT IS/HAS BEEN…
TC: …the one thing that you look forward to every day/week?
MJM: I really look forward to going on daily walks and discovering new places around campus.
TC: …your biggest challenge?
MJM: I am a really social person hence, the pandemic has made it difficult to build genuine connections with people as most events take place virtually.
TC: …the thing you miss doing the most?
MJM: I really miss going out to eat with my friends.
TC: …the best way for you to feel connected with others?
MJM: Video calling my friends and family really helps staying connected with them. Sometimes we also organize virtual events like games and trivia nights. It’s extremely fun because we are all so competitive.
TC: …your new-found hobby or activity?
MJM: My new-found hobby would definitely be baking. During the lockdown, I learned that it was something that I really enjoyed doing. I really enjoy trying out new recipes.
TC: …the one thing you purchased that you would have never bought before?
MJM: I bought a KitchenAid mixer because I started baking a lot.
TC: …your (new) favourite food or item to eat/cook/bake?
MJM: I really enjoy baking snickerdoodle cookies.
TC: …your favourite way to spend time at home?
MJM: I enjoy reading and doing crossword puzzles.
TC: …the last show/series you binge-watched?
MJM: The last show I binged watched was Lupin.
TC: …the show/series/movie/book you recommend to others?
MJM: I would definitely recommend the TV show The Office!
TC: …the thing that brings you the most joy/happiness?
MJM: I would definitely say my dog. It’s funny because my dog’s name is actually Joy.