Think of universities as a nation or city of its own, with its own people, culture, system of government, social groups, places to go, things to do, et cetera. But returning as a Postgrad to this kind of microcosm doesn’t mean that you have to distance yourself from student politics.
It’s just for the Undergraduates, right?
You may be plunging straight into a Postgraduate course straight after your first degree, or are returning to Uni after a hiatus. Of course, this means you’re going to be older and more experienced than most other students on campus and may feel like you won’t fit in the same way that you used to, but there are plenty of other Postgrads involved in Student Union activities.
How can getting involved benefit me as a Postgrad?
There are a few ways in which getting involved with your Student Union can benefit you. Getting involved with Student Union activities is great for making new social connections, as you can find other people with similar interests as yourself. At the least, it’s something else to do at University other than study - like starting a society or taking up a new hobby . Potentially, this could lead to interesting connections that could help you obtain a great career after University. In addition, the experience of getting involved can be something interesting to add to your CV.
Also, you may get involved with certain activities which can improve the experience of University for all students, for example action on tuition fees or student rights.
What kind of things can I do to get involved?
You can check out your Student Union website to find out about up and coming activities, but also you can look at www.nus.org.uk to find out about national campaigns, petitions and activities. Current activities include campaigns against funding cuts for 18 year old students in higher education, against deregulation of teaching qualifications, for funding for scholarship programmes, opposing reforms to the A-Level system, and against further education fees for students aged 24 and above. There are also campaigns to help students reduce energy wastage, address the treatment of international students to the UK as well as a campaign for equal marriage rights for all.
What else do I need to know?
If you’re simply putting your name on petitions, it isn’t going to take up too much of your time, but if you do get involved with more time consuming activities, much like if you are working a job at the same time as your Master’s or PhD then you need to ensure a healthy balance between the two, so that the benefits of getting involved with student politics doesn’t impact on your studies.
The main thing is that you may end up getting involved with something you find enjoyable and enlightening during your time, as well as leaving your mark, especially if you missed out on it during your first degree.