Profile: Caitie Cheeseman

Not All Leaders are Cut from the Same Cloth

Fifth-year Food and Nutritional Sciences student, Caitie Cheeseman, began her term as President of Brescia University College Students’ Council (BUCSC) in June 2015. The Waterloo native, who came to Brescia with plans to go into dietetics, discovered through her journey that plans change and not all leaders are cut from the same cloth.

What motivated you to run for BUCSC President?
In fourth year, I was Head Soph and by the end of O-Week I set my sights on becoming President. I knew that by taking on the role of President I would have the opportunity to make things happen and advocate for positive change for the Brescia community. Being involved with the BUCSC has given me the chance to connect deeper with the student body and help make a constructive impact on their daily lives. It was with my work on Council that I realized student life was a passion. I came to Brescia thinking I would go into dietetics or paediatrics – I now know I want to make it a life-long goal to work with and help students.

How would you describe your leadership style?
If I had to boil my personal leadership style down to one word I would say “inspirational”; I make it a personal goal to try to inspire others to try new things, push them out of their comfort zone, and motivate where I can. 

What is something about you that often surprises people?
It never fails to surprise people when they find out that I am an introvert and suffer from social anxiety. I find this often shocks people because being the President of Students’ Council involves regular networking and the ability to communicate and advocate – not something an introverted person would normally gravitate towards.  I make it a point to be transparent about this to break the misconception that leaders are the loudest and most outgoing people in the room. Leaders are not cut from the same cloth – each has their own skills and personalities.

What is the biggest message you want to tell your peers?
I would like to cite Toronto rapper Drake and remind my peers that, “You Only Live Once.” You come to Brescia for the whole experience, not only to graduate and get a degree. I encourage all my peers to break out of their comfort zone, reach out to people, and try new things. Seize every opportunity – soak in every day and every experience you have throughout your time at Brescia!

If you could go back in time and give your first-year self advice, what would it be? How have you changed since first year?
If I had to give my first-year self one piece of advice, it would be to relax and enjoy the experience! First-year was difficult for me, and I spent the first three months keeping to myself, not getting to know new people, and only focusing on my studies. Those first three months were a great period of learning for me, after which I made a concentrated effort to be more outgoing, reach out to new people, and learn that making mistakes wasn’t just okay, but necessary to learning who you are and developing as a person and a leader.