Committee Q&A: Stephen Kingdon (ESN Aberystwyth President 19-20)

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What committee are you part of and what roles have you held?

This year I served as President of the Erasmus Student Network of Aberystwyth while taking my masters. Last year I worked abroad, but before that I served as treasurer when we were still the Erasmus and European Languages Society, and not a part of the network.

 

What made you want to run for a committee role?

I think more than anything I valued the skills and challenges it would provide me with - I had not previously held any roles which could be considered to be a leader, so wanted to prove that ability to myself. Many students feel that a committee role takes time away from academic life, but I can say that my grades have only improved while being in these roles - I think the benefits they provide can be underappreciated. 

 

What has been the most enjoyable part of being on committee?

The highlights have been where we have been able to work with others, from our trip to Edinburgh or joint socials to day trips and holding a conference. That and the fact that exchange students are here to enjoy our country, so it’s such a good feeling and atmosphere to be able to show off Wales and the UK to them.


Can you tell us about a time where your role was challenging?

Oh, there have been more than a few! Perhaps the formal address to 400 new exchange students in September or making sure we got all the 73 students we took to Edinburgh back in one piece or even trying to help where we could as students were forced to leave suddenly when the lockdown kicked in. Every challenge is a learning experience however and I was blessed with an awesome team. 

 

Do you feel that being on a committee has been beneficial in terms of preparing you for the future?

This is not even a doubt to me. I came to Aber after taking a scholarship exam, my grades would not have allowed me to enter any university and the most awkward person you could imagine. I leave with a bachelors and a masters having been on exchange to Norway and worked in Japan and New Zealand. That transition is absolutely due to the amazing student life available here, and more than anything the confidence it can give you in yourself, that can lead to amazing things.

 

What piece of advice would you give to an incoming committee member?

I think I would say what I have said to our other committee - enjoy it, contribute what you are passionate about more than anything. You will be around people who believe the same things or want to do the same things as you already, so just have fun with it.

If you can, also be open to working with other clubs and societies, because this is where the greatest things happen. Maybe also think how you can ensure your club or society can be sustainable in the long term because if you can grow your resources beyond what can last only 1 year, then others can really build upon what you have achieved in the future.


Check out more about ESN Aberystwyth here. If you want to know more about getting involved with societies or being on committee, get in touch with your Student Opportunities Officer (suopportunities@aber.ac.uk).

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