So elections are here! Why should you run? In this blog, I explore 5 reasons why I ran for this position and 5 reasons why you should think about nominating yourself to represent your fellow students whether as a NUS delegate, within an Academic Association, or even as an Officer (please I need a good replacement for myself, KCLSU is my child and I need a competent parent to take over). I love my role in representing students both within the SU and the university to ensure students are put at the heart of decision making.
Why did I run to be an officer?
- I love making a change to help students: Throughout uni, I participated in various King's projects, groups, and initiatives to make life a little less bad for students, and I thought a full-time officer position would allow me to make a change on a larger scale. I was right. This year, I have made so many positive changes for students to ensure they have the best experience in light of Covid-19, ranging from securing menstrual products for self-isolating students or subsidising fit to fly tests for international students.
- What is the worst that can happen? What stops a lot of people from running, and nearly stopped me, was the idea that ‘no one will vote for me’. So what? I would have regretted so much if I decided not to run and then be unable to participate in change to help students. All you lose is time writing your manifesto and time campaigning – that is literally it. What is the best that can happen? You could get the role! Great, now it's time to use your energy positively to bring about the change you dreamed about. For me, it was getting rid of the mice on campus - tune into Mousewatch to see what is happening there. As I said in my campaign slogan, ‘if library mice cause you pain, vote Hussain!’. Honestly, still quite proud of that but I should give credit to my brother for thinking of it.
- Am I good enough to do this? Imposter syndrome is real. I asked myself this question every moment during nominations and throughout the year. The answer is yes, you are good enough. Although I was questioning myself, I kept referring back to point 2 to resolve the internal issues around this. Also, I would say KCLSU does give a lot of support to develop yourself as a representative. Particularly, with the officer role, if you get it I have already started designing additions to the robust induction process so even if you have areas of development, we can work on this together, whether that be finance training or how to influence stakeholders. We will help you identify areas to develop and work on these. You are not going in blind, you will be supported and most importantly you ARE good enough.
- I love King’s: Probably shouldn’t admit this but it is true, I didn’t want to leave King’s yet. I love King’s College London wholeheartedly but I did see problems in it that I wanted to solve. Whenever King's staff ask me for my reason for running at the beginning my short answer was: everyone likes to complain but where is that doing? Mice are a great example, instead of just posting pictures and complaining, I have worked with the university to make it better. I genuinely think King’s is great but still has a long way to go, and being part of SU representative structures allows you to enact this change.
- You need to bolster your CV: In all honesty, I did not know what I was getting myself into. I just thought this was something where I could help students and get paid for it – a win/win in my book. However, any student representative role, especially officer, gives you a wealth of skills to put on your CV. I mean, how many 22-year-olds can put on their CV ‘Chair of Board of Trustees of a charity with a £9 Million turnover, line managing the CEO’? Moreso than the fancy words, you genuinely develop skills so quickly from relationship building to communication.
Why should you run?
- You are basically annoyed with everything: As I said in previous point 5, King's has a long way to go. There is no point complaining about it without actually working to make a change. Regardless, if you run for a position in an academic association, as an NUS delegate or an officer, you are making real change for students.
- Personal Development: I did not realise it is physically possible for a person to change this much in the course of a year, but I really did change. I have become more confident, combatted imposter syndrome, develop countless skills as the list goes on and on. I would not trade this year for anything. Although it’s been a difficult year trying to support students through Covid-19, I think I have done a good job and it has been incredibly rewarding.
- Fun! This role is what you make of it and it can be a lot of fun. You get to work on an incredibly diverse portfolio within a great Students’ Union. You get to work with like-minded people who are passionate to make change to a collective goal. In a normal year, you have the opportunity to go on trips to observe best practice both nationally and internationally – of course I have not left my bedroom this year, however, as an officer this is an option normally!
- Connections: Whatever role you campaign for, you meet others you never would before! In this role, I met my first ever geography student in this role. I love meeting new people so this was a great reason to run for me. As NUS delegate, you also network with students across the country so you are making even more friends. It’s great.
- The least important reason: It’s a pandemic, there are very few jobs and everyone needs skills on their CV. This is a great way of gaining skills to differentiate yourself from the rest of the very crowded job market.
You may be thinking "Salma, this all sounds great! But there must be something wrong if you are not running again?" There is nothing wrong, I love my role. Absolutely love it. However, I would not gain any more skills from being President for another year and I need to let go to allow new perspectives to influence what has very quickly become my child: King’s College London Students’ Union.
Interested in finding out more about becoming an officer? Attend one of our drop-ins next week! Looking forward to meeting and training the new generation of student leaders!
Nominate yourself here!