Former Staffordshire University Students’ Union President Mel Ramsay, who now works with TheLADbible as a writer, gives us some inside gossip on what it means to be an Officer at Staffs.
In your time as a Student Officer, what do you feel is your biggest achievement?
I feel like my biggest achievement was when I managed to secure £10,000 worth of funding from the NUS to hold a political-themed fun fair for the students. I had never organised anything like that before – I struggled to organise a drink at the pub – but on the day it all came together and I have never been so proud.
What did it mean to you when you became a Student Officer?
It meant so much to me to be able to represent the student body. I remember walking past the Ember Lounge and seeing the current officers’ faces on the board and thinking: “That’s going to be me.” I was so determined. It just goes to show what you can achieve when you are cocky/engaged enough.
How do you feel being an Officer prepared you for the outside world and your current job?
As an officer, you have to get used to being constantly criticised. You are in the public eye and can’t get away with being sick on the streets of Shelton anymore (not that I would recommend it anyway, but still). That took a while to sink in. I was no longer a student, but a representative for students. Nowadays, I’m continually criticised – I’m just not that bothered by it anymore. I’m not saying that I don’t take constructive criticism - I do. It just takes a while to realise who wants to get under your skin and who actually had valid points.
If you could change anything about your time as an Officer, what would it be?
I don’t think I’d change anything. Maybe I would have stood up to people a bit more. I was continually locking horns with the University over different issues that affected students, but I kind of wish I’d been like that from day one. I guess it takes a bit of time to feel comfortable enough to raise those issues.
What advice would you give to those thinking of running?
Just do it.
Even if you aren't successful in securing a position, you learn so much whilst running. You can show future employers that you have marketed yourself, ran a campaign and put yourself out there.
To win, you need to ensure that you are kind. That's the main thing. No-one wants to vote for someone who is unkind about other candidates. Everyone's in the same boat. Also, don't try and promise the world! I promise you, you won't have time. Concentrate on three main objectives and you'll do fine. It's an incredible experience.
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