Assistant Features Editor
Sitting down to talk to the new Student Government Association president may start off feeling more like meeting to speak with your advisor rather than chatting with a peer.
But there is much more to Matthew Thompson, a sophomore accounting major from Montgomery, beyond his polished surface.
Following in the footsteps of his older brother, who served as president before Cody Farrill, Thompson indicates that politics are not his strong suit.
“My older brother is a politician. I’m not,” he said.
“I feel like I’m doing it just because-” he stops, considering the question. “Because I saw that need for change and I wanted to do something about it.”
“I’m also not that good at speaking, in case you couldn’t tell,” he finishes with a smile.
A self-proclaimed introvert, Thompson admits, “So some of the political things you have to do are scary to me. But I know it’s nothing I can’t do, and you’ll never progress if you don’t step out of your comfort zone.”
Also a firm believer in the Gandhi quote, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world,” Thompson is determined to fill the role, whether it comes naturally or not.
But his life is devoted to many things beyond the SGA office.
“I don’t want to sound like ‘Nature Boy’ but I love the outdoors,” he says.
Clarifying that this does not include hunting and fishing, Thompson enjoys many outdoor sports around his hometown.
Situated in Wetumpka, he lives near the Coosa River and is able to participate in activities from mountain biking on nearby trails to kayaking.
One facet of his life that Thompson has been keeping relatively hidden for several years is his musical ability.
“I am a multi-instrumentalist,” he said. “I can play violin, guitar, piano. I think once you can play the violin, you can play almost any stringed instrument.”
Beginning with the guitar at age ten, the only public performances he has made were with a church group several years later.
Thompson took private violin lessons when he was 17, but has taught himself every other instrument that he plays.
“It’s not that hard once you get the gist of them—you just have to translate them,” he says of learning new instruments.
With no involvement in high school band or the musical programs on campus now, Thompson admits that playing is something he mostly does for himself, rather than to entertain others.
“Back in the day, I picked it up because it was an escape,” he explains.
Citing a love of the pursuit of knowledge as reason for his continued dedication to playing, Thompson says, “I’ve always liked to learn new things. Too often, people are born in their city and just live there. I think there is so much that the world has to offer and if you don’t explore, you’re wasting it.”
This love of learning leads him to mention that he will be picking up a second major, economics, in the fall.
“I always find myself doing something that keeps me busy,” he says of the extra schooling, which will keep him at Troy for an additional year.
After graduation, Thompson hopes to move on to graduate school and earn his Master of Business Administration. He is neither sure of, nor worried about, what will come next, asking with a shrug of his shoulders, “Then who knows after that?”
He may not have the rest of his life figured out yet, but he knows what he does not want it to become.
“One of my biggest fears is doing something that is monotonous,” Thompson said. “Spending all of my professional career going to work all week and doing whatever I can on the weekend. I’m definitely going to end up doing something I love. I couldn’t sit anywhere and do something I don’t like.”
Thompson puts further emphasis on how he wishes his time in office to vary from those who previously held the position.
“I hope people will come and talk to me about things they would like to see change. Or talk to me about anything. I’m your peer and a student before I am anybody’s president.”
Thompson continued, “Any president isn’t much without the people that he represents. If you’re not in touch with them, you are only representing your own ideas and sometimes your own ideas are wrong.”
Beginning next semester our new SGA president intends on being in his office often to listen to the needs and concerns of the students and sincerely encourages everyone to stop by.
Thompson might be seen this summer at the Hangout Music Festival watching Modest Mouse, one of his favorite bands, perform—if he can find the time in his busy schedule.