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Jovanni Villa
“A Ship in Harbor Is Safe, But that Is Not What Ships Are Built For”
Posted on April 27, 2016

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Jovanni Villa

Major: Criminology, Law, and Society
Involvements at UCI:
Arroyo Vista Resident Advisor - 3 years, ASUCI - Legal Clinic Intern, ASUCI Interns, Santa Police Athletic and Activity League Intern

How have you grown as a leader in your time at UC Irvine?

Coming in as a freshman I didn’t really know what to expect or how to get involved on campus. It was the first time that I was away from home and I wasn’t sure what this whole “college life” was all about. It wasn’t until I applied to be a Resident Advisor during my second year that I began to grow as a leader. I went from a shy individual that didn’t really know much about campus, to a leader who can mentor and teach, but at the same time maintain an open mind and learn from others. Now I am involved in ASUCI and I am able to plan programs and speak up more freely.

Who in your life has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader?

I have been a Resident Advisor for almost 3 years. Without a doubt, all of my residents have had a tremendous impact on me as a leader. It is through them that I learned about patience, mentorship, and compassion. It isn’t that difficult to lead when you are surrounded by great individuals. As a Resident Advisor you can encounter situations such as residents who are thinking of hurting themselves, have dealt with bullying, or are going through breakups and other hardships. All these situations have helped shape me as leader and have had a great impact on me.

Tell us about a time that you failed. How did you deal with this failure?

One time I was organized a program for my residents but I completely underestimated all that I had on my plate. I wasn’t able to fully balance all of my tasks so my event didn’t run as smoothly. I realized that it is better to have less tasks and things on your plate so that you put out your best work as opposed to having a lot of things on your plate and not putting out your best work.

What has been your proudest accomplishment?

My proudest accomplishment would probably have to be having the opportunity to study abroad at Cambridge University during Summer 2015. I almost didn’t apply to the program. I knew that it was impacted and I just wasn’t sure that I would good enough for the program. After looking at pictures of the university I knew that I had to apply regardless of the end result. I ended up applying and getting accepted and it turned out to be one of the greatest experiences of my life. I was surrounded by such great culture and history and I had the opportunity to study in a beautiful and prestigious university.

What’s your favorite thing about UC Irvine?

It’s hard to narrow it down to just one thing. My favorite thing about UC Irvine would be how passionate and determined the students can be. UC Irvine is completed underrated in my opinion. The student body is simply full of bright and outspoken individuals. For example, this year with the hard work and devotion of many students we managed to meet quorum and many great referendums were up for consideration.

What is the best advice that you’ve ever received about leadership?

You don’t always have to lead all of the time, sometimes it takes a great leader to take a step back and learn from others. You don’t always have to be giving orders and leading. Sometimes it is better to fall back and trust that others will work hard and as a team to get things accomplished.

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