This post is written by a member of the Debut Student Publisher Network. Read on for Beth’s reasons why being a society exec is awesome:
Getting involved with societies when you’re at university can be one of the most fun ways to spend your time, learn new skills and make friends. Not to mention you’ll have some amazing experiences that will look good on your CV! Becoming part of a society exec or committee is a lot of responsibility, but it can teach you so many things about people, life and yourself.
Here is a list of 11 things that being on a society exec teaches you. (Hint: it’s more than you think.)
1. How to present yourself
In order to actually get an exec position you usually have to apply, either by writing an online manifesto or by giving a speech when you stand at elections. It makes you really think about what skills you already have, and how you can apply them to certain roles.
After an interrogation by 30+ people, job interviews won’t seem too bad!
2. How to get along with people
Being on an exec means working as a team with like-minded students. Even though your individual jobs might be very different, you’ll still have to pitch in on big projects, work together during group meetings and collaborate on tasks.
You might have opposing opinions, but getting along with the rest of your exec is a great skill to have and practice.
3. How to fix any problem
In the words of Coldplay: nobody said it was easy. Though some roles can be completely stress free, most will sometimes be difficult.
Your budget will be too small, prospective sponsors won’t return your emails, SU forms will make you scream or things will get cancelled last minute. You learn to just roll with it, keep cool as the problems come up and try to fix them.
4. That students are really incredible
You will continue to be amazed at just how creative and talented the students around you can be. People can sing and dance, make memes, snowboard, put on conferences, close business deals, produce newspapers…basically do anything they put their minds to.
Students are inspiring; don’t underestimate what you can learn from your peers.
5. Confidence confidence confidence
It is incredibly brave to put yourself out there, whatever your role. Little things like giving speeches, talking to freshers and making them feel welcome, takes guts. So does making phone calls to strangers, teaching a class or leading a social.
Your confidence will grow as you realise you can do your job, and do it well.
6. You really can do anything
Your role can mean you end up learning things you never even thought you could. This could be anything from how to haggle with a kit provider or how to down a pint in 10 seconds. Suddenly you realise you’ve become that cool third year you once looked up to.
7. Organisation is key
Uni can be stressful enough without adding responsibilities, but having something else to prioritise alongside your studies can teach you how to manage your activities, so you have time to prepare for your seminar AND organise a bar crawl.
8. Marketing is as easy as 1, 2, 3 (likes)
Societies basically provide the purest model of a business – your goal is to give people what they want. When profit isn’t an issue and you don’t need to worry about wages, you simply focus on what your society aims to provide, and how to get it to the right people.
Learning all the tricks to get as many people to click attending on your Facebook event makes you a marketing genius, even if you don’t even realise it!
9. How to communicate like a pro
Communication is KEY to a functioning, successful society exec team. Unlike a business where everyone can be found by leaving your desk and walking, uni isn’t that simple. That usually means a whole lot of Facebook groups, Whatsapp messages and Doodle polls.
Though sometimes it seems you are never off your phone, it teaches you how to communicate effectively, efficiently, and make sure your point doesn’t get lost in the flurry of a group inbox!
10. How to deal with difficult people
Sadly it’s not always all fun and (drinking) games, and sometimes you have to make difficult decisions, sometimes about others.
Learning how to deal with people in a kind and considerate way, even if they’re uncooperative, is a lesson you never stop learning.
11. How to be a boss
Perhaps after a successful year in a position you might stand to be president or chair of the society. This is the grand-supreme position of all positions. You have to manage people, think about long-term goals for the whole society and ensure your vision for the year runs smoothly.
It all starts with going to the first event, meeting people and giving it a go. What are you waiting for? Seriously. Execs run the world, be on one.
Feature Image © University of Warwick Northern Society