After spending three years as a student who played an active role in the Hun community, Anna Marie H. ’21 made the difficult decision to maintain her leadership roles on campus while being a fully virtual student living in Canton, Ohio.
Anna Marie wears many different hats as a virtual student; she is the student body Vice President, a proctor in the Resident Life community, as well as captain of the fencing team. From her childhood bedroom in Ohio, Anna Marie spends her days counseling student government advisory representatives on writing bill proposals, supervising the creative process behind student run events and initiatives, supporting the fencing team from afar as they practice, all while attending classes and participating in extracurricular activities.
“I am a Type A personality, I like to lead, I like to talk to people face-to-face, and I like to be hands-on with my work, so being fully virtual while trying to maintain my work has been a big learning curve,” she said. “But, by being so far away from campus, I have learned a different set of leadership skills. I’ve learned that being hands-on isn’t always the best way to lead and sometimes it’s better to sit back and trust the people you work with.”
Anna Marie explains that the biggest challenge with being a fully remote student in a leadership position is sometimes feeling like a forgotten resource to her peers on campus:
“Sometimes I feel like because I’m out of sight I’m also out of mind, so people forget to reach out or ask me for help when they are struggling with a project,” she said.
But to combat the feeling of being far removed, Anna Marie makes conscious efforts every day to be present and to frequently reach out to classmates, teammates, and student government members.
“I remind myself daily that I want to participate in all of these things,” she said. “It would be really easy to use the distance as an excuse to not participate but I’ve learned that regardless of the distance I can still have a pretty big impact as long as I make my presence known and I continue to connect myself to Hun in the ways that I can.”
For Anna Marie, sometimes that may look like dressing up for themed spirit weeks and wearing her outfit around her house to feel more connected to her friends who are participating on campus. Or, taking a few extra minutes at the end of a class on Zoom to strike up conversation with classmates. Oftentimes, she uses social media as a way to see what’s happening at Hun and to volunteer for as much as she can.
Although Anna Marie’s change of scenery has been a difficult adjustment for her, she has found plenty of silver linings throughout this experience.
“I’m usually right in the middle of all of the projects that are going on in student government, so I think in the past I haven’t been able to see them for all that they are,” she said. “Now that I’m in a position where I am seeing the work that we do from afar, I really appreciate much more of all of the work that is done.”
For Anna Marie, being in her hometown after spending three years living at The Hun School has been a refreshing change of pace for her. She notes that she has spent her time home reconnecting with friends and family as well as reflecting on her life before she heads off to college next year.