What a year this has been. Or rather, it’s only been 8 months – but it has completely flown by.
It genuinely feels really strange to think it’s almost over already. That in a few days we’ll have successors knocking on the office door. Speaking of our office door – it has a sign saying both ‘engaged’, and perhaps more pertinently, ‘vacant’ on it, next to which someone has taped the word ‘expression’. Vacant expression; I think that’s a term more than a few people applied to me coming into this job. My relative lack of concrete experience led to me having my fair share of detractors, from those who felt I was completely unqualified to run a Union and its events. People who had never met me provided labels such as “incompetent”; “the least intelligent sabb”; my personal favourite was more recent – “Twat McTwat” – something which has now caught on with all my friends funnily enough! Perhaps they had a point, I did come into the job having never organised a large scale event before. It’s safe to say though with the baptism of fire that Freshers’ Week beholds, anything you don’t already know as a new DoES, you’ll sure as hell know by September. It’s a situation of learn now or have two thousand freshers turn up on your door with pitchforks in hand.
I guess that’s partly why the year passes by so quickly. You spend your first months in office with not a student in sight, focusing solely on planning Freshers’ Week, then you have two months, then it’s exams. Another two months of a ghost town before Refreshers’ Week, and all of a sudden it’s elections time. Time flies when you’re having fun though, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of being DoES so far.
It’s strange, for what is arguably the most visible and quantifiable of the sabbatical positions, the actual role of the DoES is perhaps the least understood by the general student body. All sorts of ‘facts and figures’ about the job get thrown about by people. While campaigning I got asked during three separate hustings ‘you do realise the job is only 10% events and 90% admin, right?’. I said yes. I was campaigning, I had to sound like I knew what I was talking about. It did surprise me though. It also turned out to be very wrong. Yes, there is a heavy administrative aspect to the role, but that involves contacting artists and agents, designing and organising events or marketing strategies, and meeting with students who want to put on their own events big and small. It’s fun admin. Almost every aspect of the job involves planning an event in some way or another. It’s something experience may help with to some extent, but much more important is a level of knowledge of the student body and what makes them tick. That’s what makes this job challenging. Not the level of experience you need to have before you start – you pick that up quickly. Instead, it’s the risk of putting large amounts of a charity’s money into weeks and weeks of events that you believe will result in both commercial success and happy students, and the long wait, constantly refreshing the tickets page to see if you’ve pulled it off. And when you do, it’s an incredible feeling. There is no joy quite like it when you see an event you spent months planning come off as a success. Freshers’ Week and Refreshers’ Week are what make this job incomparable. There’s no buzz like it.
Yes, you might get the odd ‘Wiley’, or ‘mid-job crisis’, but at the end of the day it’s all worth it. This job has been the most fantastic experience of my life and I can’t wait for the final four months.
Best of luck to the next Director of Events and Services. Whoever you are, I’m sure you’ll come away from it a bigger, better and happier person and I’m certain you’ll love every minute.
Don’t pester me yet though, I’ve got to go organise Grad Ball.
*Dials Wiley’s agent*
Over and out,