Apply for exec roles!
It’s exam season and things are very busy for me. Everyone I know is in the same boat, which makes it a little less tough. I have an essay due in a week’s time, and I’ve only managed around a thousand words of the expected three thousand. On top of that, I just got through two oral exams. I can’t believe I survived! But between all that stress, I’m here to give some advice, especially to freshers.
When you get to university, it’s really important to join some societies. At first, it can seem overwhelming, because there is a huge list and you might not be drawn to any particular group. The good thing is, you don’t have to attend every event, or keep going if you decide it’s not for you. And with regard to paid membership, most societies are very happy to let you try things out before you buy a membership (prices of which are very, very reasonable, and last for a year). But societies are a fantastic way to meet new people and enjoy your time outside of studies. There are lots of different kinds of society, with something for everyone – there are groups for movies, sports, food, books, writing, acting, dance, music (listening or playing), languages, culture, video games, board games, and anything else you can think of. There are also sports teams which run in a similar way.
You can expect to attend social gatherings and regular events based on your society’s common interest (e.g, performances, matches, concerts, book and music discussion, pub socials, etc.), which run throughout the year.
Of course, someone has to organise all this. And that falls onto the shoulders of the exec, a team of people who take on different roles to make sure the society runs smoothly. Roles might include President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Each society might have more specific roles; for example, Band Society has roles for Head and Deputy Tech, who help organise the musical equipment.
Generally these people are elected every year, and elections typically take place in the spring. (It’s important to be aware of when the elections fall, because if you are going on a year abroad like myself, unfortunately there is a very small window for you to take on any executive role.) You might have to give a presentation, or answer questions. It’s nothing too formal, although of course, it depends on the society.
During first year, and even for part of second, I was under the impression that anyone who applies for an exec role has to be backed by endless qualifications and previous experience. In reality, anyone can apply for an exec role. Obviously there are some requirements, like, don’t apply for the ‘social media secretary’ role if you have no Internet, but in general, you are free to put yourself forward. Having prior experience in similar roles is a massive plus – however, that’s not to say you couldn’t get elected on enthusiasm and commitment alone. I’ve seen it happen!
A role on the executive team is really good for your CV, and it helps you get more involved with university life. You can feel more connected to the community, and genuinely put in the work to keep your favourite society running. You can even implement changes you think will make the society more appealing or more efficient.
It’s easy to feel intimidated by society elections, especially as a first year or someone who has never had an exec role before. Although it might seem like the current exec has years’ worth of experience or simple popularity, applying for a position is definitely worth a try.
Challenge: which society at Warwick is the most interesting?