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Miche Sappia - Why I applied to the Lugus Board

About 2 years ago I was sitting at home, debating what you may be debating now- should I apply to the Lugus board? And now, looking back after having completed a board year at Lugus, I can say: yes, you should.

It has been about a year since my board year, in which I was the Chairman of the 21st board and the first international Lugus board member. Since then, I have moved to Delft and am now pursuing a Master's in Complex Systems Engineering and Management, with a focus in energy.

Though I ended up leaving Groningen after my board year, having done a board year has opened up opportunities here for me that I otherwise would not have been able to have. For example, I am currently part of a student consultancy team here at Delft called International Research Project Delft (IRP), in which the team will travel to India this summer and complete projects for companies such as Shell, Unilever, DHL, and then go on a team holiday together.

Before applying to the board, I was in my third and final year of my bachelor, and about to start my thesis. It was my first year as an active member, and I had really enjoyed my experience being the chair of TaSC, and I thought a board year would be a fun experience, but I was not sure what I would gain from it personally and professionally. I was already a very disciplined and organized person, and that is usually what you hear people coming out of a board year improving. But ultimately, I decided to go for it anyway, and what I learned kind of surprised me.

Before my board year, I had a problem saying no to people and things. I often committed to doing too many things, and then found myself with a very full schedule and many random commitments I had no interest in doing. My board year taught me how to say no to things and prioritize what I actually wanted to do, and it saves me a lot of time and stress nowadays!

Another skill I developed over the year was how to effectively lead and guide meetings. While I had been chair of many committees before, and had no problem leading group projects, I learned that leading a meeting effectively is a little different. There was often a long list of topics that needed to be discussed throughout our board year, and it was easy to lose focus and take many tangents. Throughout the year I had a lot of practice on how to prioritize topics, steer the discussion, and therefore have an effective meeting. Not only with the board but also in meetings with faculty members.

Nevertheless, the most significant thing I learned was actually during my Candidate Board period. As chair, I was mainly responsible for ensuring we had a well-thought-out policy for our upcoming board year. During this time, I learned that I really enjoyed dissecting problems, considering multiple angles, and creating possible policies and intervention plans. In your time as a Candidate Board, you learn how to approach problems and think differently, and this is what ultimately also led me to choose my current master's program. 

So if you are like me two years ago, going around in circles, debating if you want to do a board year, don’t hesitate to reach out to me, or any other old board member. We are always happy to share our experience and what we value most from the experience. To those of you who do end up applying: Good luck, enjoy the rollercoaster that is the board year, and see you at Old Boards Day!

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