When in doubt, challenge yourself…

…by Hermina / from Albania / studies Health, Science & Society / 1st Year (UG)

Having come from abroad, I faced a culture shock, a phase of confusion, of identity change, integrating old and new knowledge, behaviours, feelings, and perspectives — all of which happened in a very short period. Amongst all the other challenges that transitioning to a new place included, being a Class Representative was another one added to my list.

The first challenge I faced as a Class Representative consisted of how to properly introduce myself. This led me to think about two major follow-up questions; what can I do for the students?  and what do I need from them? Secondly, I had to make sure that I was carrying out my duties to the best of my abilities. I was determined to thoroughly research every topic, self-prepare and manage the process with due diligence, even if that required a lot of work. This imposed another challenge, managing my time and finding a balance between this engagement and my other commitments – so as not to get overwhelmed in the process. I have learned how to maintain high levels of enthusiasm even with considerable workload and deadlines approaching.

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However, I have not been alone in this journey. I have had the chance to meet many student representatives with whom I have shared my common experiences. In addition to that, the Student Association has provided great support as it has helped me answer many questions. Participating in training and workshops has given me all the core information that I needed to know about my role as a Class Rep; my duties, and expectations. In addition, meetings with other students and the training given have been very supportive in terms of helping me set clear goals and develop my interpersonal skills.

This experience has benefited me in lots of different aspects. It has contributed to both my overall personal fulfilment and well-being as I have felt more connected and engaged with the student community and as I have seen myself grow and develop.

I am grateful to have been trusted with this responsibility. Having had a chance to work alongside University staff to improve the student experience of my cohort and prospective students has helped me accomplish one the most challenging goals- that of being able to make a difference and have an impact on the student experience.

I have challenged myself academically, professionally and socially and as I reflect carefully I am happy and proud to say that I have added to my skills a new toolkit that will help me improve and advance in life – I hope you do too by joining in all of the opportunities the University has to offer.


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