Explore this Section
2010 Criminology & English
What I am doing now:
I’m the President of the Students’ Union. It’s amazing!
How did you get to where you are now?
A lot of campaigning. I was elected Vice President 2010-11 and I stood for re-election this year for President. Both elections were exhausting, emotional learning experiences but I really enjoyed them. It’s taught me to appreciate the power of representation, and I’ve got a lot more interested in national politics. My motto, for the good times and the bad, is ‘democracy ensures that you are governed by no better than you deserve’!
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
I have that inherently awkward British tendency to play down personal successes and to preserve, at all costs, a polite modesty! However, I’ll try to put that aside and indulge my ego a little... That I even got to University was, my mother would say, a bit of an achievement in itself; it certainly didn’t feature on the ‘life plan’ I had drawn up at eighteen years old. I had the academic capability but a degree in just one subject didn’t appeal to me at all. I was quite a stubborn young lady; I like to think I have mellowed a little since! Luckily, I discovered Keele a little later on and lo! a new life plan was born. Academically my biggest achievements were definitely the results I got in the creative writing modules I took as part of the English side of my degree. It was something that required so much more of my time and emotional energy, but it never once felt like work. I remember feeling pleasantly surprised that I’d managed to find a legitimate academic use for a part of my head that had until then been reserved for recreational use only! Personally, I’m proud of the work I did with Keele Nightline in my third year. I took on an external role and made an enormous difference to their service level. I also gave emotional support to the volunteers who manned the phones to students, which was difficult - because we obviously couldn't talk about the calls - but rewarding at the same time. I also met my partner here who is also my best friend, my biggest fan, my strongest critic, my housekeeper, my nurse, my emergency bank and my alarm clock. In fact, we picked up the keys to our first home together this afternoon - quite a milestone!
My biggest personal achievement is that the person I’m growing up to be is someone I grow more proud of every day. I know that that’s not very tangible and I’m only at the beginning of my life as a Keele alumna… but, perhaps because I am a recent graduate, I’m able to draw direct parallels with Keele, the things I’ve done here and the people I’ve met, and the lessons that I’ve learnt as a result.
And your biggest mistake?
My biggest mistake is very simple. I wish I’d had the guts as a fresher to get over my insecurities about sport. I’d never been good at PE in school, so I assumed my attendance at any sporting event at Keele would be neither desired nor required. It was late in my third year when I started to second-guess myself; this year I’ve worked with the captain of the women’s rugby team, and she’s spent the last twelve months taunting me about all the fun I missed out on. I feel very daft!
What are your ambitions now?
Well, after my year as president is up I think I’d like a little holiday! After that, I’d like to get a place on a graduate scheme, and continue to write in my spare time. Long-term, I’d really love to work for charities or not-for-profit organisations. Being on the executive for the Students’ Union has truly been a delight and a privilege; to get hands-on with another organisation with similar values would be fantastic. And secretly, whether they admit it or not, all aspiring writers want to get published - I’m certainly no different!
What advice would you give to someone wanting to work in a similar field?
To be a Sabbatical Officer for your Students’ Union, you need:
(1) enthusiasm and appreciation of the student movement,
(2) bags of energy, ideas and creativity,
(3) passion for your portfolio,
(4) the ability to schedule sleep according to your diary.
To get elected, you need to do your research, get as much experience as you can, talk to as many students as you can, gather a dedicated team of campaigners and have a few creative publicity stunts up your sleeve.
What made you choose Keele University?
A friend told me about this amazing place on a hill somewhere ‘up north’, where everybody knows everybody, where they let you study two subjects at the same time, where you’re surrounded by countryside but only ten minutes from the shops. That sounded much better than Milton Keynes, so I googled it. It was all a massive coincidence but, once I came here, I just knew that Keele was going to be my home forever. It was a bit of a fate moment to be honest...!
What kind of a student were you?
Playful, mischievous, full of beans, spontaneous, generous, lots of friends, bad with money and essay deadlines, unenthusiastic about cleaning, oblivious to the existence of mornings, a very good cook but always propping fire doors open. I lived in Lindsay, worked in the SU bar, drank in the Pig and Rat, and missed so many lectures I still find it hard to look some of my lecturers in the face... I am a terrible example of a student!
How has Keele influenced your life?
Right now, Keele IS my life. I’ve just taken so much from this place, I think I’ll always reflect and recognise parts of me that took up roots back at Keele. I can see it now. I’ll probably encourage my children to make broad-based academic choices; having been here I really understand the value of knowing a little bit about a lot of things. They’ll probably hate me for trying to control them and go and sulk in their room to stroke their pet squirrel....
What is your favourite memory of Keele?
Rolling and rolling down the hill outside Keele Hall just before sunrise with some American study abroad students on their last day in the UK. It seemed like the right and proper thing to do at the time.
What is your impression of Keele now?
Playing such an active role in it, it’s hard to give an objective and personal impression. I’m too close to stand back but I hope that it will always remain true to the founding principles which I really care about – the value of a broad-based education, a campus community, lots of trees, and a quirky political history.
Anything else you would like to add?
I just want to thank everybody who has made a donation to the Keele Key Fund (and this was NOT prompted by the Alumni Office). As Vice-President Finance & Activities I looked after all the societies, many of whom have benefited from Key Fund grants in ways that KUSU could never afford to do for them before. I guess I just want you to know that the money you donate is really, really appreciated, and makes a really visible, practical difference to student life here. Thank you!