I would be the first to admit that I am not an outgoing person, but a proud introvert who would much rather listen and think, than shout my opinion to the crowd. That being said, at the end of my first year, I decided to run for a committee position. I had been going to yoga classes with the Yoga and Pilates Society for a few months, and when they mentioned they had roles on the committee to be filled, I figured that I wanted to help out the society that had organised the classes which really helped me de-stress and keep my mind a little more focused.
However, this kind of thing was not my strong point at all. It involved putting myself forward, going to an AGM where I didn’t know anyone and giving a short speech about the role I wanted – and I knew from experience that as soon as I started to speak in front of more than two people, I would get that shaky voice, and feel my cheeks burn with nerves. I regretted nominating myself and struggled for a few days over what to do.
The desire to be on the committee won out in the end, and I braved the fear of public speaking and having over a dozen pairs of eyes staring at me. Armed with some notes and the knowledge that I could get up and run away if it all went horrifically, I pretended I was super confident and walked into the AGM smiling at everyone, despite the fact I could feel my face burning already (the curse of ginger hair and very pale skin).
Ultimately, it all worked out perfectly. I got the position I wanted and only tripped over my words maybe 5 times- a new record for me. However, not only did I get my ideal position which I believe will help me in the future by giving me experience in my possible career field, but I got to meet some amazing people, who I now count as my closest friends.
Being part of a society committee at uni is a really special experience. There’s a unique bond you have with other committee members as you carefully build a society up to new heights, and create new traditions that could hopefully be around long after we leave university. It adds new depth to your social life – you now have a new group of friends who you can experience things with and become more than just ‘committee friends’. The pride you feel when a meticulously planned event such as a charity bake sale, or even just a week of uninterrupted classes goes perfectly is a great feeling, and being able to help others feels even better. Going into my third year is a pretty daunting prospect, but knowing I’ll still be on my society’s committee with my friends- and a few newbies which is exciting – makes the experience a lot easier. If there’s one piece of advice I could give someone at uni, it would be to join a society outside of your departmental one and, if possible, join the committee. You won’t regret it!