Many students juggle university studies and a job but there aren’t many out there with the kind of responsibilities shouldered by Arjun Randhawa.
Randhawa, 21, is a fourth-year political science student at the University of Alberta and a member of Fort Saskatchewan city council.
His dual roles mean he has to plan ahead if a paper is due the day after a city council meeting.
“It's busy. It really takes a lot of time management, that’s for sure, but it's really rewarding at the end,” he said. “I'm taking it in day by day, and just soaking up every opportunity I get.”
When Randhawa was elected in October 2013, he became one of the youngest city councillors in Alberta and one of the youngest politicians in Canada.
Stepping into the political arena was a natural step for Randhawa. His proud father Ron Randhawa recalls taking his son to volunteer on a political campaign when he was just 13.
“At that time, I was not even interested that much in politics as he was,” Ron Randhawa said. “He's been involved as far as I can remember.”
A typical day for the young councillor involves a 45 minute drive from his parents' home in Fort Saskatchewan to the University of Alberta in Edmonton.
When he returns home after a day of classes, Randhawa has to tackle the phone calls, emails and meetings that come with being a city councillor. Then there's the reports and background information that need to be read for meetings.
Arjun admits he is lowering his expectations at school in order to focus on his council duties. But he says quitting school isn’t an option.
“I have to continue to get that education so I can be more effective at my job,” he said.
Randhawa is in his final year of his undergraduate degree and has three years left on council.
However, he plans to keep juggling his two lives. He wants to study for a Masters in Business Administration.