By Justin Kist
Every year in Middelburg, a peculiar phenomenon appears. Roughly on the border between Winter and Spring, the students of University College Roosevelt congregate for info sessions, write motivations and speak with students boards. All online this year, of course. It signals that Election season is in full swing, and the members of the current student boards soon will find themselves, alumni, for their successors are the seeds that will be sown – and bloom in the forthcoming Spring, Summer, and beyond to carry on the legacy and work of the student boards and societies. Nonetheless, as we all know, we’re affected by the ‘rona. So will those seeds grow, and will the flowers from it bear strong fruit?
The latter will undoubtedly be true. Students are harshly affected by the current measures imposed by the Dutch government, which confine us to our homes, take away the social aspect that is dear to us, and make us feel like rats in a cage, switching between screen and bed. The students who, apart from that, put themselves forward for the community, are strong flowers, which blossom even in winter.
But I am not sure whether those seeds will be sown and grow. Whether new students have the willpower to commit themselves to boards and societies, to step to the forefront to what they like (or what they think they’ll like), and form a heart in the community, from which life and activity grows. The situation for new students to become active in the community is perilous, to say the least. Notwithstanding the promotion from the current boards, recruiting proves tough. Students, particularly first years, might not see the info sessions, understand what some boards do or what it is about or forego this aspect and focus on their study. The ‘rona lays as a cold winter’s snow over the Earth, submitting the seeds in it into sleep.
Sun will melt the snow and give way to enable the seeds to grow. Terraces will open in the city, physical classes will be possible again. Students can go about their lives, as it always was. So it seems. Will it be the same? No. Because if there is no one to continue the work of boards, if no student rises up and puts their foot forward, UCR’s social life comes to a standstill. The clichés – it’s true. Starting is the hardest part. But if it stops, who will pick it up again? The boards need people. Not even in trying times; especially in trying times. Boards of UCR cater to UCR students. It is they who the boards work for. Simultaneously, it is they who keep UCR’s vibrant social life running.
Good grades are important, but only a part of studying. You will not remember your grades after UCR (or so the UCR alumni keep telling me all the time), but you do remember what you have done together, what you have worked for. A collective is always stronger than an individual, and being in a board that you like, that you want to put the time in, is a great way to actively shape that project into a memory you will cherish.
If you’re a first-year, you are in a luxury position. With little responsibilities, you can shape your UCR future now, and act to make it something more worthwhile; to blossom as a board member and put your feet forward in order to help the community. The one concern voiced over and over, like a forgotten record, is that people are “too busy”. Too busy – for what? Practical experience is something you get over and over engaging in student boards and is a grand way of learning. Working in a team is a great skill to have, and enjoyment to develop. Too busy for that is simply a way of prioritizing, and to state that you wish to remain somewhat confided to your room after the ‘rona-experience is somewhat ludicrous.
Get out there. Blossom. Bloom. You are what UCR needs, and you can act now to actively take part in it. It’s simple. Think about what you like. Inform yourself. Go to AAC’s info session. Go to HAC’s info session. Go to RASA’s info session. Most of all, go to Elliott’s info sessions. Talk to people. Apply. Engage. Above all else – don’t be afraid. In a board, you work together. A seed does not grow on its own. It receives water in order to grow. In a board, you’re together. You act as one for the common good and provide an immense enrichment to student life. And to me, that is what being a student at UCR is about.
Board Info sessions
General Board Info Session: Friday the 19th at 13h (https://www.facebook.com/events/741767136734315/)
Deadline for Daily Board Applications: Monday the 22nd at midnight (https://www.facebook.com/groups/685986508630029/permalink/873318883230123/_)
Info Session: Thursday the 18th at 13h (https://www.facebook.com/events/4460216004007238/)
Open Board Meetings: Tuesday Week 8 at 19:30 (https://www.facebook.com/academicaffairscouncil/posts/10158422162650787)
Open Board Meetings: Wednesday Week 8 & 9 (https://www.facebook.com/events/152515840051380/)
Image Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/T9CXBZLUvic