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The Officer experience from a Postgrad perspective - Umar's take on the elections


Nominations for our leadership elections are officially open, so we’ve reached out to previous SU Officers to help spread the word. Over the next few weeks we’ll be posting one-to-one interviews to give you an insight into what it’s really like to campaign!

Umar Yunas-Chaudhery went from being our Post Graduate Officer to 15/16's Vice President Education! Here's what he had to say about the experience... 

So Umar, how did being an Officer help you? 

It was great fun! You’ve got to meet people that you didn’t really speak to. I’ve said this to quite a few people but back then I was quite shy as a person and I found it difficult to talk to a lot of people who I didn’t know. I was quite comfortable with my friends. I think being an Officer brought this little light inside of me out. I thought “right I need to speak to everyone and I need to make sure that I win! Or I have to at least try.” I’m glad I did it. It really did change how I felt. I guess it changed me as a person. 

Umar pulling off the fresh faced & fluorescent look at our Blackout UV party 2015! 

When did you first start to think about putting yourself forward? 

I was involved in the Students Union before, I was the Post Grad Officer at the time and that’s when I got to meet great people like Issy, Rima and Natalia and I remember during my Undergrad I was at City as well and I didn’t make the best use of the Student Union. I didn’t use their facilities and I didn’t go to the support service and so on. I remember leaving my Degree and thinking that all my other friends got involved in the Students Union, got involved in Societies and made friends for life. Although I did make friends from my class we only had one thing in common which was our Degree, whereas my other friends had hobbies with their friends. So, I thought if I ever did go back to University, I would make better use of the Students Union. When I went back for my Postgrad, the first day I think it was, at Freshers Fair I went up to the Union booth and said “look I want to get involved!” They said look, there’s a PostGraduate Officer role which you can get involved in and it all went on from there really!  

What was your experience of campaigning like? 

It was fun and exciting but at the same time and it was scary. It was really scary speaking to people I didn’t know and trying to get them to vote for me. I remember approaching people and asking if they wanted to be a part of my campaign team. It was a challenging time. Purely because I was a postgrad as well but it was also so rewarding. Someone in my position, who’s shy might think “am I actually able to put myself forward and go for it?” It’s more of a challenge, a personal challenge. 

Thanks so much for sharing Umar!

Find out more about our elections, see all 18 positions available and nominate yourself now. Deadline 19 Feb 11:59 pm

Want to hear from other previous Officers? Read Zain’s take on the elections & Giulio's take on the elections