Introductions: Rowan South

Educating Newcastle: Education Officer, Rowan SouthEducating Newcastle: Education Officer, Rowan South

Congratulations everybody on getting to university, and more importantly well done on making the correct choice by coming to Newcastle. It’s a decision you most certainly will not regret, and by the end of your time here you’ll be wondering why you even considered going anywhere else!

So you’ve arrived, moved in, met your flatmates, now what? Freshers’ week of course! If you’ve got your wristband already, sign up for as many activities as you can, if not, buy one! This week will be one of the most fun and interesting weeks of your life. You will meet so many new people and do so many new things you might struggle to keep up, but don’t panic, everyone’s in the same boat. You’re all in a new city surrounded by new people, so of course it’s a little daunting, but if you throw yourself in and get involved as much as you can, you will honestly have the time of your life!

Speaking of throwing yourself in, if you see anything that takes your fancy at the clubs and societies fair put your name down, my best experiences at university were down to the societies I joined and the teams I played for. I was part of the Maths society from my first year and actually was the social secretary in my final year, if you do maths, or know someone who does maths, or just want to join one of the biggest and best societies on campus I’d definitely recommend it (don’t worry it’s not a society where we sit around solving equations, we run bar crawls, pub quizzes and alternate socials, it’s all actual fun!). I also played 11-a-side football every Wednesday for the mighty Jesmond Tutu FC in the 3rd division, widely regarded as the most competitive league in Newcastle; we are looking for new players so if you think you’re up to the task get in touch!

Enough about me, time to explain what my role actually is. As Education Officer I am here to represent your academic interests, that means I present any student-wide opinions or issues to the University and push for change based on the interests of you, the students.

“My best experiences were down to the societies I joined and the teams I played for”

There is also an academic representation structure designed by NUSU. On your course you will have several Course Reps. These are students (it could even be you) who volunteer to represent the students in their year on their course; their job is to gather feedback from the students about any issues that are affecting their academic experience, they then bring these issues to something called staff-student committee which is a meeting between all the course reps and members of staff on the course to discuss. The outcomes of these meetings are then fed back to the students by the course reps, and also submitted to me through a school rep that will be elected from the current course reps; I can then bring up any unresolved issues at a Faculty or University level. Being a student rep helps you gain invaluable employment skills and is a fantastic social experience, so I cannot recommend highly enough getting involved and having an actual voice in your education!

Don’t worry, I’ve finished waffling, now get out there and make the most of your Freshers’ Week and have a fantastic time at Newcastle!

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