Lessons I’ve learned whilst running a student society
The thought of having to balance work whilst studying can be quite daunting especially when you are trying to gain exposure in a new industry. Now, what if you also wanted to make the most of your university experience and join a student society to organise events and initiatives in your spare time? You can imagine how hectic that may be! But let me tell you, it is not as hard as you think.
My experience as a Student Society President with Engineers Without Borders UTS (EWB) whilst studying and interning has been a crazy but remarkable opportunity to do what I love, while gaining the practical and interpersonal skills required in my career. These include my ability to lead and manage a team effectively, organise successful industry and social-based events, and meet a diverse range of people who share a common interest with me.
Throughout my journey, I have picked up some tips and tricks that have helped me feel motivated and organised during busier periods, and I hope they will help you too!
Let’s get into it:
Get a diary!
I know this might sound quite obvious, but you’d be surprised how useful a diary is especially when you are trying to balance so many commitments at the same time! I always add:
- My assignment due dates;
- When executive meetings are held;
- To-do lists;
- When society events are running.
This way, I can visualise my workload and determine whether or not I can take on any more tasks.
If you’re not into pen and paper, be sure to use your calendar app! You will be able to sync all your classes, events, and meetings to all your devices and even be notified of any due dates. It was also really easy for me to share any society events to my executive team members.
Don’t be afraid to seek help
My role as President carries a lot of responsibilities and tasks that needed to be complete to certain deadlines. There were times when I had assignments piling up, my internship getting more intense, and society events coming up a lot faster than planned.
Until recently, I always thought it would be a burden to ask for help and have my team member carry some of the tasks I was responsible for. Being able to break that mindset and reach out to others is a great way to ensure tasks are completed on time, and in the long run, build a stronger relationship with you and the rest of your team.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
You’ve probably heard this EVERYWHERE (and don’t worry, I hear it all the time too), but communication is the absolute key to a successful, well organised team. We found that the more we were transparent and open with each other, the more successful the implementation of our events were. It is important to have check-up meetings when working in teams so you can update, assist in planning, and build a stronger connection with each other.
Joining a society is all about having a platform where you can share your interest and passions with the rest of your members. There have definitely been times when I felt that having the responsibility to accomplish many initiatives and tasks to be stressful and discouraging. I always remember to look at the big picture, reflect on why I chose to take on this role and, take a break when things get too much.
Remember, as a society member, you are still a volunteer, so you shouldn’t always prioritise the society over your uni assignments and work commitments. It is completely ok to take a break, so you don’t overwhelm yourself with the workload.
Hopefully, these points have helped you out and you can take these ideas on board when you get involved with a society and other extra-curricular activities. Some student societies are looking for a general committee team where you can assist in the functioning of the society. If you’re unsure about your workload or interest, be sure to check out their social media accounts and sign up to be a part of the subcommittee team!
Although it requires a lot of work and time, it has been an unforgettable experience as I have made lifelong friends doing what I enjoy thus being a definite highlight whilst studying at UTS. So, go ahead and find a society that suits you! (You can explore the different clubs UTS offers here).
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash
Intern at UTS Careers
Jasmina is currently studying Software Engineering and is an Intern at UTS Careers. She is passionate about humanitarian engineering and gender equality in the tech industry by teaching young women to code and organises school outreach programs to students in regional areas.