Taking up a leadership role at university is important for a plethora of reasons. Firstly, you will guarantee meeting (and working with) a variety of students from all backgrounds, which will foster your overall growth as a person. Remember, university is more than academia. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, you will be able to gain a set of transferable skills that will come incredibly handy in the world of work after graduation.
This article will outline a few of the main reasons why being part of a society committee is a good idea and how to get stuck in:
Whether you are a sports enthusiast or want to represent your department, there is bound to be a role waiting for you. This depends on each university, so try to do some research.
My top tips are:
- Check your university’s Student Union (SU) website/social media pages. They usually post details about being a “student ambassador” which is similar to being a prefect at secondary school. Try to drop an email to the “Head of SU events/activities” if there is one
- Reach out to the societies that you are interested in. Some big societies have “freshers’ representative” roles which may be of interest to you
- If you have a particular interest but a society has not been created yet, then reach out to your SU! In most cases, it is possible to register your own society, you will most likely need a minimum number of members and a few committee members. This however depends on each university, so do double check
- Check out this website to get an idea of what kind of roles a typical society may have: https://www.allaboutcareers.com/careers-advice/university-societies/university-society-roles
The job market is becoming more competitive year on year. Therefore, securing a spring week placement and/or internship may increase your chances of securing a full-time graduate role, contingent upon performance. Spring weeks (or insight weeks) and internships are placements that you do either in your first or second year, depending on the programme. These placements generally include a competitive application process – which is why standing out is very important!
Having a leadership role in your first year of university shows potential firms and industries that you are determined and proactive. Although most firms do favour strong academics, it is becoming increasingly popular to view extra-curriculars with more importance. Having a leadership role outside of your academic life proves that you are a well-rounded individual through teamwork and motivation, which can put you ahead of others in the application process.
Good luck and always ignore the thought in your head that may tell you that you are “not the right person” for the role or that you “lack experience.” Take a leap of faith and go for it!
I will leave you with one of my favourite quotes of all time….
“Doubt kills more dreams than failures.”
Written by Sinem
Sinem is an undergraduate reading Development Studies at SOAS, University of London and enjoys socialising and exploring different cultures through cooking. She mainly writes about personal development and student life, aiming to guide motivated young women.