There are three things that I believe to be vital to the success of any student lead society: Passion, Vision and Great Time Management skills!
I started getting involved with societies at high school in Antigua where I participated in a variety of both co-curricular and extra-curricular activities like the Young leaders, Junior Achievement, Environmental and Tourism Cadet Corps and the Department of Culture’s Steel Band and Youth Choir. However once I enrolled at New College Nottingham, UK, I was ready to get involved. In 2010 I was elected Student Union President for the college. And, for the first time in many years, student engagement with extracurricular activities was at its highest …Even the election process saw an overwhelming number of student voters! I was buzzing!
Serving as leader for a society isn’t easy. That’s where the passion comes in and overrides the doubts and fear of failing. But the good thing is that, ‘You’re only as good as your Team!’
Being a society leader opens doors to a lot of opportunities. My fondest highlight is speaking at Nottingham Parliament petitioning for student’s EMA. And, by virtue of my leadership status I also sat on the board of governors of the college what an experience!
At university my first year was very normal. I just tried to get through, get good grades and move on to the next year….who was I kidding? My mind is always planning the next big thing! Over the summer of 2013 I came up with a few ideas for the events management society–an event launch. I wanted cocktails, games, mingling and just students getting to network with tutors and other events students. I pitched my idea to my tutor who suggested linking this social with the society’s election night. The event was a success and the events committee was formed with me being elected Vice President and Finance Officer.
At the end of the year, I felt like the society needed a push. We needed more engagement and activities and I came up with a few event ideas. One thing I have learnt with working in a group is that, everyone won’t see your vision and sometimes you just need to go with the team decision. One of my ideas was the events society Leavers’ Ball, which I envisioned to be the grand departure for final year students. This event, however, being a large-scale event and untested, I took it to the faculty level for more support.
The Sheffield Business School Leavers Ball was born! Working closely with other societies in the business school, this event was a hit with final year students. I found working with students from different course of studies very beneficial and interesting! We all had different skills sets which came together and made a stronger team. Being able to delegate responsibilities and communicate effectively was paramount to being a successful student leader. I was elected Events Management Society President the following year.
For me, time management has proven to be one of the most important aspects of society leadership: organising meetings and planning events whilst managing my course work was extremely exhausting at times. And I worked two jobs! Miraculously, I held it together at the graduation office and at Genting on the weekends. Care for some juggling anyone?
During my tenure as Events President, I learnt that managing people and schedules was more work than actually putting on an event as everyone had classes, course work and other obligations and so, being able to make good, quick decisions is a skill society leaders must develop.
You will have your high days and the days when you think, “Gosh, I really can do without this stress!” But, trust me… it is worth the work. At the end of my presidency the society was runner-up society of the year and I was nominated for and won an Inspirational Student Award for my leadership. That was a highlight of my time at university!
Now that I have graduated, I see the society morphing into a formidable society. The inaugural leavers ball with only had 250 students is now being hosted at one of Sheffield’s biggest events…the official University Leavers Ball! The motto, ‘Think big and start small‘ has worked for me!
Currently I am a new member of the (JCI) Junior Chamber International Manchester where I will have more opportunities to gain new skills and use those I have gained from society leadership.
5 Top Tips To Get You Through The Year;
- Be Confident
- Lead By Example
- Use Your Connections
- Collaborate With Other Groups and Societies