"Overall, it’s been exciting, dramatic, unexpected and absolutely bloody fantastic!" Kate Roberts sums up her turbulent year as VP Education, before she steps up into the President role for the 2020/21 academic year.
The Higher Education sector as a whole has seen huge developments over the last 12 months, not least due to the current Covid situation, but also due to industrial action and an unexpected general election - none of which was on my radar when I first took over the role in July, which now seems like a lifetime ago! These developments have had knock-on impacts on the wider discussions around educational experience and will continue to influence universities for some time. The issues affecting students at Royal Holloway are often not isolated, sitting in the context of wider national changes, which has been more prevalent this year than ever before.
It has most definitely been a year of two halves, with fantastic wins for students coming your way right from the offset of the academic year.
Just after campaigning for the March Sabbatical Officer elections, the world was thrown upside down due to coronavirus. As many students returned home, it was clear that academic representation was more important now than ever before.
Overall, it’s been exciting, dramatic, unexpected, and absolutely bloody fantastic! I wouldn’t change any part of this year, it has taught me so much about my own skills and abilities, especially in the face of a new challenge (which seems to be weekly at this point!). It is never a dull life being a Sabbatical Officer, and it’s safe to say this was the wildest year there’s ever been. Being able to lean on such a brilliant team has really helped too!
I am not going anywhere just yet (realistically we are all going nowhere in this working from home world!), but I am moving inboxes and social media accounts across to the President role, and hopping across to the other side of the desks when we are back in the office!
I am hugely excited to be taking on this new role alongside an empowered, dynamic, and impactful team of Officers. I will be leading the Students’ Union through a post-Covid world, launching a policy inquiry into student housing, and looking at our engagement, sustainability, and inclusivity throughout the year to help us make student life better for you at Royal Holloway.
I will deeply miss my Sabbatical Officer team this year, I think they are all absolutely brilliant and I hugely excited to cheer them on from the sidelines wherever they end up next.
I will also miss the amazing academic reps who I get to work with so closely in the VP Education role. It always astounded me when I heard about what our reps were getting up to, they are so dedicated and have achieved so much in their roles, which is often rarely heard about. I know I will be leaving them in the most trusted hands in my successor Alissa Chohan, who I have no doubt will be a wonderful VP Education.
Standing in an election was the best decision I ever made, it is the most wonderful and crazy job you will ever have the chance to do and if you are even remotely thinking about it, I hope you throw yourself into the opportunity with open arms. Being able to work so closely with student leaders and create real, meaningful impact makes for an extremely rewarding job. The skills you will gain are unparalleled, it really is a chance you shouldn’t miss.
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