I first joined Y-street at the beginning of my sophomore year, at that point in my life I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and had never taken on any serious role of responsibility or leadership. I knew nothing about health policy or working in a professional manner. Y Street changed all of that for me and helped me to not only grow as a student, but as an individual as well. Anyone can join Y Street but you can only get out of it what you put in, which is something I quickly learned. I learned so much because of Y Street and had the time of my life being a part of such an impactful and wonderful organization, and one of the best choices I ever made was getting super involved. Two of the most prominent Y Street memories that stick out for me as really helping me build leadership and professional skills are my first time at the Y Street Leadership Summit and when my county got our tobacco policy passed.
When I applied to participate in the Y Street Leadership Team, I had no idea what it would entail and had no idea how much I would learn from it. I truly credit the Kick-off Summit for providing me with the majority of my leadership and professional skills. I was able to learn about networking and how to present myself in a professional manner, while also having a ton of fun. I was able to build connections with others and getting to learn new skill sets with peers makes it all the more fun. Once I had the YSLT position I was able to use the skill set I learned at the summit and use it in my school environment to enact change and produce more student involvement. Without attending the Summit, I wouldn’t have the leadership skills I have today or be able to present myself in a professional manner and it was through these skills I was able to help get the tobacco policy changed at my school.
It’s fun to hear about the change other students are making, and it can be hard to believe that anyone can make a change if they get involved and put in work. When you commit to Y Street and put in the effort, nothing is more rewarding than seeing your hard work pay off and knowing you enacted a healthy change in your community. Helping to get my school’s tobacco policy changed helped me realize I was capable of making a difference. Even though we are students and it sometimes feels like we’re too young and our voices are to small, they’re not. It’s never too late or too early to make a change. And my time at Y Street taught me that by getting involved and committing you are not only able to make a change for your community but you can make a change in yourself. When you commit and put in the work for Y Street you will come out the other end as a leader with extensive knowledge of health policy and have the ability to conduct yourself in a professional atmosphere.