Carla
Subject: English and Drama
Student status: Home, Finalist
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Transcript:

I went to university knowing that I wanted to join a dance society and that was one of the reasons that I chose the university that I did choose in the end because I knew they had a dance society. I've danced my whole life and it's something that I wanted to carry on into university life. As soon as it got to the Freshers' fair I went straight to the stall and I had a chat with them and I said I definitely want to join and found out about it. Then I went to some different classes and then in the second term was part of the show which is held in the theatre on campus and that was really good, I really enjoyed it.

And then coming from that, at the end of the first year they held elections for the committee for the second year. And I'd got to know a couple of people in the committee in the first year and they really encouraged me to go for a position. So I ran for vice president and I won the election and so I was vice president in my second year and I had a lot of input in the committee and it turned out the president relied on me to do a lot of the presidential kind of things which I actually really relish and I was very happy to have such a big input into this society.

Contrary to what people think there is a lot to do, it isn't just like turning up each week and teaching a dance class, there is a lot of organisation and you have to correspond with people that work for the university and people that work for the union and people outside of university, for example newspapers and things like that. There is a lot of work to be done but I enjoyed it so much that I then became president in my third year which has just been amazing.

I've completely turned the society around and made it what I think is better than what it was before and we became the biggest society on campus which I'm really really proud of and we put on a massive show in March which there are 150 people in the show and we sold out the whole theatre. It was just really good and I just look back at the year and think I'm so pleased to have been involved, I think it really has changed me as well.

So how did you find time for study and your social life and the society, how did you manage to balance all those aspects of your life?

I found juggling my life with the society and my academic work to be, sometimes it was a bit tricky but the rest of the time it sort of all fitted nicely together anyway and I think my passion lay with the society, really, which isn't obliviously the best thing to happen but I think because I was enjoying it so much it kind of just made me more determined to get things right. Then following on from that, my academic work I knew I had to do it and I knew if I didn't I wouldn't be able to do my society things. So I think in that way they did sit well together because I knew if I didn't do one I couldn't do the other so I knew I had to take time for both.

What do you think you gained from the experience of being involved in the dance society?

I think being an undergraduate and having such a big part in the dance society has really helped to develop my confidence. I turned up in university in my first year and fairly confident as it was I had a gap year, I'd had a job, and I wasn't like a shy retiring little creature that didn't speak to anyone but I think having the responsibility on my shoulders of a whole dance society with 250 members really pushed me and made me speak to people I wouldn't normally speak to, speak to people in authority and to deal with problems I wouldn't have ever have come across before, and sort of conflict within the committee, conflict with the members and problems with contracts for the theatre.

A lot of problems were thrown at me and I had to keep a level head and be responsible and make the right decision and become a lot more diplomatic as well. I used to jump into things with my heart, 'This is what I think and this is that' but now I know you have to step back from things. I kind of treat it like a business situation really, you have to make the best decision that can be made for the progress of the dance society and the union.