ASI Alumni Spotlight: Xiaopan Xue

ASI Alumni Spotlight: Xiaopan Xue

ASI Alumna, Xiaopan (Pam) Xue

Years with Associated Students Inc. (ASI): Five years, 2012-2015

Job Titles with ASI:

Graduation Date: June 2015

Major: Communication, public relations with a minor in marketing management

Clubs and Organizations at Cal Poly Pomona (CPP):

Current position title: Sports Clubs Coordinator

Company: California State University, Fullerton

ASI Alumna, Xiaopan (Pam) Xue

What do you think is the best thing about ASI?

One of the best things about ASI is the comprehensive experience you get there. It is a great combination of professional development that prepares you for your future career while giving you a great sense of belonging as the staff and your peers become your family away from home.

Since you worked as a members services supervisor in ASI Campus Recreation at the Bronco Recreation and Intramural Complex (BRIC), what do you want students to know about the BRIC? What is your favorite thing at the BRIC?

I want students to know that the BRIC is there to support their development and interests on a recreational level. There are so many things to do at the BRIC—don’t be afraid to explore and ask questions. Working at the BRIC helped me develop my passion for health and wellness—working out became an outlet for me and improved my quality of life. It pushed me to try things I never knew I could do i.e., climb the rock wall twice in a row even though I have a huge fear of heights. It also debunked a lot of stereotypes I had about the fitness world.

My favorite thing at the BRIC definitely has to be the group fitness classes. It was here that I developed my love for all things Turbokick, Spin and Body Pump. The instructors are inclusive and welcoming; there was no shaming or “showing off” in those classes. I made some friends along the way as well.

What was your favorite event to plan with the ASI Bronco Events and Activities Team and why?

I have to name two events for this question because they both serve different purposes. My first event is the Murder Mystery Dinner held at the Restaurant at Kellogg Ranch. This was my first event that I planned with another programming chair and it was an awesome experience. I learned how to work with a peer, develop a friendship and also work with my adviser at the time as well. This was where I got to create unique marketing tactics online and in person—we sold out the event!

My second favorite would definitely have to be Mickey Madness—a Disney-themed Midnight Madness. Working with the same co-chair, we let our imaginations take hold and planned something amazing all the way from souvenir buttons to the amazing design on the marketing by MDPR. Seeing students come to enjoy the themed activities reminded me why I joined ASI BEAT and served students.

You served as a member of the Fab Five. What is that and what did you learn?

The Fab Five is a team of CPP students that give a fun and interactive presentation about ASI to the incoming first-years during their orientation sessions. The Fab Five work together to memorize a pretty intense script and learn to work together in getting the incoming students excited and in-the-know about the opportunities ASI can provide to students. There are two things I learned: number one, everyone has amazing skills to contribute to the team—areas others lack can be supported by others’ strengths and number two, ASI provides a holistic set of services that is not just Student Government. The Conference & Events, Financial Services and other departments provide real-life opportunities for students to grow and develop.

You worked a lot at ASI. How did you manage working all the time and your classes?

For me, it was all about prioritizing. ASI was always important to me and if I wanted to succeed in ASI, I needed to make sure my academics were OK first. There were moments when I had to take time away from ASI so that I could focus on my school work—and that was OK. I also leaned on my teammates as time went on—you can’t do everything on your own! Life happens sometimes and I was able to tell my advisers and teammates when I needed a day of self-care. Their care for me made it possible for me to be open, vulnerable and helped me take care of myself. Ultimately, the skills I was learning in ASI such as event planning, financial tracking, et cetera was applicable in the classroom—seeing the integration was something that I truly enjoyed.

How did ASI enhance your college experience and contribute to your path to graduation?

ASI kept me engaged. I think this was the most important thing. I wasn’t really involved in anything like this in high school and I was much more focused on academics. Once I got to CPP, I realized that contributing to the student experience was something that I was missing and ASI fit the bill for me. It gave me an opportunity to do what I didn’t do in high school. It grew my perspectives and challenged my belief system and values in a really cool way. ASI kept me at CPP even though I was a commuter. I felt like I still had the same college experience as someone that might live on campus.

What professional skills did you learn while working at ASI that you use in your current job?

All of them! No, really I’m serious! I learned how to work in a team, how to delegate items as a leader, and when to step down and let others lead. I learned how to utilize others’ strengths to benefit the entire team and also learned how to mediate conflict. Above all, I learned that nothing’s perfect, but you can make it your own version of success. ASI taught me that having areas of improvement—aka weaknesses—isn’t something bad. We are all imperfect human beings and that’s what makes us so dynamic! I don’t think I could have planned all those events, given all those presentations, or expanded my horizons with fitness if it wasn’t for ASI giving me humbling experiences. All of those experiences made me a much more marketable candidate in the job market.

When you were at ASI, you used to carry around a camera with you everywhere you went. Do you still like photography?

Yes—110 percent! I still love photography and am still doing it. My current goal is to expand more into the wedding photography industry and spiff up my website. My busiest times are the graduation season and summer. Having a full-time job makes having a side hustle hard at times, but it’s what allows me to be creative. I always joke that I can’t really draw—unless it’s at the Animation Studios at Disney California Adventure—or design anything, but I can compose a great photo. It was so awesome to see the photographers in MDPR do their thing. I was always admirable of them and all of the knowledge that they had.

What advice do you have for CPP students?

My advice is simple: do what makes you happy. Cue inspirational song—but really, not everything about your CPP experience will make you 110 percent happy, but you can find something that gives you joy…find something that has you waking up every day excited and eager to learn, do something that keeps you on your toes and makes you a little nervous at times. It doesn’t have to be ASI. For me, it was ASI. For you, it could be working at the Annual Fund (I also worked here and it was a great learning experience—shameless plug) or doing research with your professor. You don’t have to be like everyone else you see. Something I loved doing was picking and choosing as I listened to and saw others’ experiences.

What has changed about you since you graduated?

Everything! Kind of. At my core, I’m still the same person. I’m still serious and when I don’t smile people think I’m mean. I still love to crack sarcastic jokes. I still love photography, event planning and serving students. However, I think I’ve grown a lot. I came out as queer in graduate school, got married and moved out. My life changed radically, but I think college and ASI prepared me for these changes. College showed me that I am a dynamic human being who makes mistakes but is also really passionate. It didn’t give me a belief system—it taught me how to form one.

What is your most memorable CPP experience?

Just being in the old ASI BEAT office sitting next to my teammates/friends. We would work and talk and laugh together. I felt like I was part of something bigger. I think I was. Oh, and also the time that my teammates Saran-wrapped my chair with plastic wrap, streamers and bubble wrap.

What advice would you give to students who are not actively involved with ASI?

See my answer to my advice for CPP students. But also, check out ASI. Give it a chance. Even if you don’t join anything or work here, there are still lots of benefits and services that you can utilize.

After CPP, you earned a Master’s degree in higher education at CSU Fullerton (CSUF). How was your experience and what does CSUF have that we don’t?

Graduate school was definitely different from undergrad. Most of my time was focused on academics and when it wasn’t school, it was my part-time job in the field. I was also challenged a lot in my personal identities. I came out as queer and really examined what it meant for me to be Asian-American in the U.S.—lots of intersectionality talk and hard nights. I love both my alma mater and CSUF! I think both can learn from one another. I can’t compare the experiences because I can’t compare undergraduate to graduate.

What are some words to live by?

Carpe Diem. Just kidding.

Some words to live by are: remember that the world and the universe are both so big and that there are so many experiences out there. You are part of something bigger both within yourself and to others. Keep searching for your ‘why’ and don’t be discouraged when it doesn’t come immediately. Enjoy the good things but let yourself feel the bad too—it’s what makes you human! Also, take lots of naps, eat lots of good food and take chances.

Find out how you can get involved with ASI yourself at the next session of The Student Experience on September 13 at the BSC, Ursa Major BC (Bldg. 35-2611)!

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