‘University is about more than just a degree’

Danielle, an Undergraduate Rep for the History department, says the role has increased her confidence and given her a chance to make change in her department…

‘As an Undergraduate Rep you need to actively want to make changes for the better, not just within your department, but across the university.

The role is broken down into two sections: firstly, attending monthly meetings with the academic representation coordinators and the rest of the reps, and contributing to an annual project. Secondly, liaising with staff in your department to act upon improvements students want to see happen, which are brought up in departmental meetings. I relish the fact that there is no particular person or set of traits for a rep. The only thing that is needed is a genuine desire to help others.

Being a Department Rep had increased my confidence threefold. It’s allowed me to create a community amongst students by organising events. One such event was a trip to Oxford in October 2018, where students looked around the Spellbound exhibit at the Ashmoleon Museum, explored Oxford and met fellow students.

I was also picked to conduct a virtual tour of the History department for potential students. Chatting to professors and friends in the department and explaining the unique characteristics of my course gave me immense pride, and induced continuous laughter from some particularly hilarious and awkward moments, moments which will be imprinted on my brain for many years.

The annual project is one of the biggest components of the position. This year, there were three projects in total. The first focused on retention - why students drop out and what they do, the second on student communities and the third, teaching and learning from the perspective of students, which I worked on.

There were around 15 reps in each group, and within each group there were sub- groups which were assigned tasks. I helped to conduct focus groups and had a meeting with the Teaching and Learning Innovation Centre (TaLIC) in order to go over the findings of our report so far. Once the project was finished, our group met university staff to figure out viable solutions to the findings. Being part of the project was one of the highlights of the role as I went out of my comfort zone by speaking to staff across the university, and actually liked it!

I would highly recommend the position because it’s helped me develop so many skills. University is about more than just a degree, and with a role as all- encompassing as this, it’s perfect for anyone.

Being a rep is challenging. It can sometimes be extremely difficult to balance meetings with the annual project and a degree, but the feeling of satisfaction that the role rewards you is unprecedented. If you love helping others, being a mouthpiece for your peers, enacting change, taking risks and creating strong relationships between those in your department, then I implore you to become a rep. You will not regret it!’

 

Interested in representing your peers next year? Recruitment is now open for the positions of Department Rep or Accessibility and Inclusion Rep for the 2019/20 academic year. Have a read here - http://bit.ly/2LUFfp0 - for all the information you need to know and how you can apply!