As the President of the New Zealand Union of Students Associations Jonathan Gee is dedicated to helping young people achieve as much as they can, but it was some of the early opportunities he was involved in that equipped him to make a difference.
Jonathan was involved in Model UN from year nine, progresses from a delegate to a volunteer to finally an officeholder as well as being co-chair of his local youth council and a Youth Ambassador for UNICEF.
Engaging his interests in politics and advocacy allowed Jonathon to develop the skill sets that help him in his current role today but his early experiences also gave him invaluable soft skills.
“Just by getting involved in those opportunities I got to know a range of likeminded individuals with whom I formed some lifelong friendships and made some contacts that I still have today.
“Those opportunities really helped me to get into some different roles post-high school.”
One of those roles is running the We Have Power campaign, which aims to get every tertiary student in New Zealand to vote.
“We’re mobilising young people across the tertiary campuses to have conversations with each other about the issues they care about and connecting that to politics.
“A lot of people are fed up with politics as usual, a lot of students are sick of politicians not genuinely addressing the issues we face as a country.”
His advice to others looking at taking up opportunities is that there is no wrong pathway.
“Any opportunity is a good opportunity, it just depends on what you make of it.
“It’s about being in the moment and taking the opportunities that come in front of you.”
Jonathan’s motivation for applying for things is centred around not worrying about what might happen.
“The worst thing they can say is no, so why not apply?”
When it comes to the application itself, you must be willing to put yourself out there.
“You need to be able to sell yourself well and not be afraid of telling your story.
“To stand out you want people to be able to understand your personal motivations and values rather than just the hard skills on your CV.