aAh! catches up with Manchester Met Student Union president Letitia Jones to find out more about what the SU has to offer and her top tips for making the most out your time at university.
Letitia on her role as Student Union president…
“My role is to be the bridge between the students and the executive team of the university, [including individuals] like the Vice Chancellor. It’s my job to be the student face and take the thoughts of our 38,000 students around the world to the team.”
On why you should consider giving back through volunteering…
“There’s power in helping others. Getting outside your comfort zones and experiencing different parts of society is a great way to grow as a person. There are over 200 opportunities at the SU. Anything from helping immigrants learn English to going with the former Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, into schools to help children develop as poets, or going to animal rescues and tending to scared animals. We have something for everyone.”
On immersing yourself in the student community…
“Societies are important to the university experience. I like to call myself a ‘basement goblin’. Even as an introverted person there comes a point where I’m like: ‘I need to talk to people…’ When you join [a student society], you are joining people who have a collective interest you can bond over.
“In my first two years as an undergraduate, I went to class, I went home – rinse and repeat. It affected my mental health which affected my grades. I then threw myself into student groups like the black student groups, Manchester Pride, and even the MMU Fashion Society. I can’t sew to save my life, but I joined anyway, and it was like a lotus flower unfurling. It completely changed my collegiate experience.”
On where to find help…
“The Advice Centre is a free confidential service. We can help with housing situations, whether that’s the place being uninhabitable or emergency housing, we don’t ask any extra questions, we just help. If you’re in financial trouble and you need something to carry you over or need help budgeting, we’re there. If you find yourself in trouble, someone in the centre can be your advocate and walk you through everything. You can drop into the office on the second floor of the Union, call, or hit the website, whichever way you feel comfortable.”
Letitia’s top tips
1. Read your Student Handbook. There’s information on who, what, when, where and how – but also how to keep yourself out of trouble.
2. Have fun but remember there’s a limit. When you’re falling asleep in class or you open your wallet and there’s only £3 left, rethink.
3. Try different personalities. If tomorrow you want to be an anime dream girl who dresses in Sweet Lolita fashion, do that. If next week you want to dress dark and haunt the Poetry Library, go for it. This is the time to.
4. Explore the campus. There are so many pockets of creativity and innovation. Go to different buildings and ask what’s going on. Even if you’re not Muslim, pop into the prayer room and see the quiet reflection or sit in All Saints Park and watch the world pass.
5. Engage with the SU. Every person there is invested in helping. So go and use the building that was made just for you.