How To: Be Involved in a Society While Being an Economics Student
In which blogger Alanda shares her experience of balancing coursework and society commitments.
Prior to attending the MSc in Behavioural and Economic Science (Economics Track), I had to complete a two-week pre-term course on Introduction to Maths and Statistics. This was very demanding and intense, as I had to digest Maths and Statistics materials every single day, for five days a week, with 9 to 5 schedules, wrapped up by a test that will contribute to the Econometrics module.
Within the same week, I also became a candidate for President of the Indonesian Students Association across the United Kingdom, and had to run a campaign, including doing debates, reaching out to voters, and publishing my plans through the media.
It was really demanding, especially given the fact that I was attending the two-week intensive course. At the same time, the campaign could not be postponed. Those two weeks were tough, but I was able to draw a number of lessons from the period, which I believe would be useful for you if you are interested in joining a society, may it be based on the country/region where you are from, interests, or course/department.
Build a solid team
First of all, it is very important to be able to build or be a part of a solid team. For me, it started with building a campaigns team. Even though the roles were informal, I encouraged my friends to be a part of the team, to help my refine my speeches, go through my presentation slides, and spread the message regarding my candidacy to a wider audience. By having a solid team, I was able to delegate a number of things, particularly when I had a challenging ‘homework’ from class, or when I was facing the final test of this two-week course.
Utilise your weekends well
We all love weekends, but sometimes it is worth it to manage our weekends well so we would be able to work on society matters only on weekends. I found allocating my time this way to be very efficient. During the weekdays, I was able to focus on learning, studying, and doing homework and would not spend too much time worrying about my extracurricular work. During the weekend, then, I would not have to worry about my assignments as most of them are already finished during the weekdays.
Weekends are also great for sleeping in and just relieving stress. Juggling academic and non-academic work can be very exhausting, so I also try to take some time to properly rest on weekends and let stress go. I usually bake cakes and cook, but perhaps you also have other ways to relieve your stress, such as by doing exercise or going to the movies.
Sleep and eat well
Sleeping and eating well are two very important things. By doing these two alone, it is guaranteed that we will be healthy, as sometimes what makes us sick are not really viruses or bacteria, but simply the lack of sleep and lack of nutrition. It is never nice to be sick in a foreign country. Even though the expenses are covered by the NHS, sometimes there is a long queue in GP surgeries, making us have to wait a few days to be able to see a doctor. With all these activities, we cannot really afford to get sick. So, it is better to not get sick in the first place, by sleeping and eating well. I also advice bringing our own food from home, especially when we have a very busy schedule. Queueing at university cafes can take a long time particularly during busy hours like lunch time. Therefore, most of the time, I find it way more effective to just bring food from home that I cooked myself.
After all, joining a society offers a lot of benefits. It allows you to build and grow your network to be beyond your course, department, and housing arrangement. You would be able to meet a variety of students from different academic levels, studying different courses. Moreover, it gives you the chance to destress, particularly if you are arranging a fun event or attending routine exercises.
Election day in London!
This year's Indonesian Students Association in the UK cohort with the Indonesian Ambassador to the UK
And guess what: despite these difficulties, in the end, I got elected to become the first woman who has ever chaired the Indonesian Students Association in the UK. :-) I believe you can be as actively involved in one of the societies, too!