The life of a JCR President isn’t as glamorous as it seems. This is most evident when you find yourself single-handedly cleaning up loo roll and broken glass strewn decoratively across the quad from the night before, or waking up to the realisation that you have to sit on the Health and Safety Sub-Committee that morning.
It’s also probably safe to say that by the end of my stint, I had developed a genuine phobia of checking my emails. Despite this, the role is very much a rewarding one. On a day-to-day basis, I managed the running of the JCR and acted as the student representative to college, whether that meant sitting on College committees or lobbying college to effect some (much-needed) change, such as the installation of air freshener in the toilets.
Perhaps the best thing about the position is the people you get to know – whether it’s those who you didn’t know before or those who you got to know better by virtue of working with them. And the satisfaction derived from having to defend (hopefully successfully) a proposal put to college definitely offsets the time spent leafing through stacks of agenda papers.
It can prove quite difficult, however, to strike a work-life balance when you have to be on hand to deal with any issues that may arise. I found that organisation really is the key to success. My mornings usually began with a salvo of emails, accompanied by industrial amounts of coffee and biscuits, but the day tended to be punctuated with meetings, events and JCR-related admin, with my degree and social life fitting round everything else.
I would often receive emails or phone calls from college staff with problems that would demand my immediate attention. Sometimes these were frustratingly trivial – “Natalie, it would be great if you could sort out the mess in the pidge room as soon as possible” – and, at other times, horribly ominous – “Please could we arrange a meeting at your earliest convenience to discuss X…”
Whilst busy, the life of a JCR President is a lot of fun thanks to the people in the JCR who you get to know so much better and for whom you develop a vested and emotional interest in representing. It’s a serious position, with fairly weighty responsibilities, but an incredibly fulfilling one too.