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The Student Trustee Experience
Daniel is a 3rd year student in Product Design and Innovation. He volunteers for Strath Union on the Trustee Board.
What motivated me to apply?
Following my time as one of Halls Presidents, I was encouraged to apply for the role by Matt Crilly, who, at the time, was the President of Strathclyde Students Union. At the time I was very anxious to take this step as it was into a world that I didn’t properly understand. My motivation for applying to the role was to see how far I could go and where things would take me if I simply said yes to challenges. My recommendation to anyone who is anxious or deliberating with the idea of applying, is that you should go for it. It is a big step, but one that proves to be equally (if not more) rewarding a it is challenging.
How I felt when I started?
In truth I was quite anxious myself. Entering the first meeting surrounded by individuals who have had long careers in finance and management can be quite daunting. That being said, everyone on the board is exceptionally friendly and will do their best to accommodate everyone.
I took some time to settle in but that can mostly be attributed to my nervousness and is not reflective of the experience as a whole. Now that I have spent some time on the board, I feel quite comfortable and I look eagerly to another two years of experience.
What have I learned?
The experience this role offers has taken me into the world of finance and management. Which is quite frankly, the complete opposite of what I thought I would experience at university to do a degree in product design. This role on the board subjects trustees to every matter than concerns the Students Union, from the development of it’s new building, to the relevant financial papers that need to be produced and approved.
Not only did I learn about the ins and outs of Union business but I also had the experience of chairing a sub-group which helped me build my confidence and people management skills.
Should you apply?
Becoming a Student Trustee offers a rich experience that I previously thought would be unobtainable at university. In parts, it can be very challenging, the learning curve is steep, meetings can require plenty of time and reading and some of the topics may forever be confusing (cough cough finance and pensions). However, the role is greatly rewarding and can potentially open doors for you in the future. There is plenty to be gained on both a personal and professional level.
If you are anxious as to whether you will be experienced enough, or whether you will adapt to new and unfamiliar settings, my answer is just do it. Despite being cliché and perhaps cringy, the best thing is to go for it. I myself had little to no experience and was nervous for sometime but with time and patience I have grown to enjoy board meetings and I look forward to more of the same.