I took part in the 2018 Students' Union elections and even though I didn’t win, I found the whole experience extremely rewarding and useful for many different reasons.
Taking part and nominating myself for a position was something I had wanted to do throughout my whole degree, but I just wasn’t sure about myself enough to put myself out there. But in my third and final year as an undergraduate, I decided to take the plunge and go for it. You can get so much out of the experience; here is why you should go for it.
Anyone can do it
Anyone who is a student has opinions on being a student representative, so there’s no reason why everyone can’t nominate themselves. Your manifesto is just to explain to students what you stand for, and why they should vote for you. Make sure you don’t make crazy points that you’re not sure you’ll be able to follow through on, and make sure what you put on your manifesto are actually points you are passionate about, because it will be obvious if not.
You’ll be pushed outside of your comfort zone
Part of campaigning is talking to total strangers, which may be something you’ve never done on this scale before. And it won’t just be for a friendly chat either. You have to sell yourself and make them vote for you! Get out and talk to as many people as you can.
You’ll also have the option to take part in ‘Question the Candidate’ which is where the candidates are asked questions randomly selected from the audience and have to answer on the spot. If you’re going for President, you will also have to perform a short speech. I highly recommend you take part in this. Not only will it increase your chances of being elected, but it’s an extremely rewarding experience, and you learn so much about yourself in the process.
You’ll make some awesome new friends
When I stood in the elections, myself and a few others decided to run together in what is called a ‘Slate.’ You probably know the other people in my slate already – Mary Copsey, VP for Business, Amanda Campbell-White, VP for Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Matt Hayes, VP for Science and Engineering. I had only met Amanda before, but during these intense few weeks, we all became really good friends. You’ll also meet the other candidates and you’ll honestly have the best time of your life with these new people. Go for dinners, coffee and drinks with them, build those new relationships. It’s an amazing but intense opportunity, so take a break once in a while!
You’ll become such a different person… in a good way!
Three weeks from start to finish doesn’t seem like a long time. But you’ll look back at the end, even if you didn’t win, and think to yourself, ‘wow, I’ve changed so much!’ Because you will have. With all the people you’ve met, skills you’ve developed, and stress you’ve undergone, you will be a stronger and better person for it. It will be a time you will look back on not only with pride, but with joy.
I’m so glad I stood in the elections – and I hope you do too!