My name is Declan, and I’m currently working as a HUB staff member and as VP/Treasurer of the UL Postgraduate Students’ Union. When not doing all that, or my PhD thesis, I am involved in Clubs & Societies here in UL. I first got properly involved in C&S in the final year of my degree – which was probably a bit mad with my FYP to do! – But haven’t looked back. There are plenty of obvious benefits to joining C&S, such as the opportunities to meet new people, but I want to very quickly talk about the benefits I have experienced as a postgraduate student in C&S.
There are actually career benefits to getting involved. I am doing a PhD in history, and when I was Auditor of the History Society two years ago I ran a conference that brought in speakers from all over the British Isles. That looks pretty good on my CV, as well as giving me an opportunity to meet loads of new history postgrads and discuss research-related issues with them. The various other committee positions I have held – I tend to gravitate towards events-related positions – also look good on my CV, and I’ve been provided with loads of chances to relax, unwind and meet new people.
The Benefits Are Endless
It’s very important, particularly for research postgrads, to take a step away from your work and do something to unwind, which is why I joined the Tea Appreciation Society for their weekly meet-ups. As well as this, the jobs market is currently very competitive, and employers are looking for people who have done more than just completed their academic qualifications. Showing that you have engaged on a voluntary basis with organisations that contribute to the culture of your university campus, in positions where you have had some level of responsibility, certainly makes you a much more interesting potential employee. Even with my work here in UL, my knowledge of the campus community and my organisational experience definitely helped me win the PSU VP election and makes my work in the First Seven Weeks HUB a lot easier.
A lot of postgrads don’t engage with C&S, and it’s a real pity, because there are definitely volunteering opportunities there that benefit us immensely!