Vic Taylor: Keelite of the Month August 2013

2013 Law with Politics

Vicky on Balcony of the SU What am I doing now?
I'm the incoming Keele Students' Union President
How did you get to where you are now?
Blood, sweat, and lots of tea! I've been really involved in the Students' Union since my second year at Keele, sitting on student council and running the student magazine, "Concourse". I hadn't decided to run until last Christmas when it dawned on me that I couldn't bear the thought of missing out on such a great opportunity. I came back to Keele and promptly ignored my exams to focus on talking to students, designing publicity and handing out hundreds of cups of tea ("Tea for Taylor", geddit?). It all paid off with election night being by far my best night at Keele - not sure if I'd say the same thing if I hadn't have won!

Photo right: On the SU Balcony

What has been your biggest achievement so far? 
I think getting my degree has been my biggest achievement. I made the most of every opportunity whilst as Keele and had to juggle a lot of extra-curricular commitments as well as my course. On top of running "Concourse", I was also a resident support assistant (previously resident tutor) in my final year for Lindsay Hall. I definitely enjoyed a well-rounded social life too!

Vicky in the Union And your biggest mistake?
I was really close to going up by a degree classification - in hindsight I might have made a few more 9am lectures! Other than that, I think my biggest mistake has been not getting involved with the sports side of Keele. Many of my friends have had brilliant experiences working for sports clubs and committees and I’m pleased to be around for another year to have the chance to get involved.

What are your ambitions now?
I've loved being involved with the student movement and I think we can be a driver for positive change. I’m really excited about the progress we can make for the next year at KeeleSU. I’ve been quite an active member of the National Union of Students and I’d really enjoy the opportunity to work with them after my sabbatical year. Alternatively I did some really positive work experience with BBC News in Birmingham and that’s something I’d like to have another look at.

Photo left: Vicky in the Union

What advice would you give to someone wanting to work in a similar field? 
Getting involved in the student movement has been really positive – you get to shout about things that you’re passionate about and have the chance to meet interesting people and encourage change. Sometimes it can be difficult to get your voice heard, but if you’re representing your peers and you know what you’re talking about, it’s always worth the struggle.

What made you choose Keele University?  
I couldn’t choose between Law and Politics and a tutor at my college suggested Keele might be a great way to balance my two passions. I fell in love with the campus when I came to look around. I wasn't sure what to make of the quiet, peaceful environment compared to my more urban environment at home, but once I’d settled in there was no looking back.  

What kind of a student were you? 
A sporadic one! When I started at Keele I was absorbed by my degree. My dual honours combination worked really well as when I was struggling with Law overload, I could get stuck into some politics reading that I found easier to digest. By my third and fourth year I’d got so immersed with the Students’ Union that my degree took a back seat and my studying was crammed into late night sessions in the library during assessment periods. I really enjoyed my course – but my student experience will be why I remember Keele.

Vicky with Graduation hat How has Keele influenced your life? 
I’m much more confident. When I started university I wasn’t exactly shy, but the prospect of meeting a lot of new, professional people was daunting. Having run in elections, represented my school and campaigned on a national level, I’ve become much more aware of not just my own, but the ability of students to influence others.  

What is your favourite memory of Keele?
I think some of my best memories have been with "Concourse" – this year we put on an awards night for our contributors. In typical student fashion we left the preparations a little late so I spent a wonderful day running around with the rest of the committee buying balloons, food and prizes. We got to campus just in time to set up and had a lovely evening.

What is your impression of Keele now? 
It’s been really interesting to get to see how the Union, and to a certain extent the university, work behind the scenes. I always anticipated that an awful lot of work went in to running a successful SU, but being on the other side has opened my eyes either further!

Photo left: If the hat fits...