Student representative in the University’s decision-making structures
For our Fresher Guide 2020, we interviewed Minea Antila, a student representantive in the steering group of the Bachelor’s Programme in Psychology. We are now looking for student representatives for all degree programmes’ steering groups for the term 2021-2022. Therefore, we republish Minea’s interview on our website. See how Minea has experienced her time as a student representative and, if you get interested, apply to become a student representative in your own degree programme’s steering group by Monday 5 October!
Who are you?
I am Minea Antila. I have worked with educational policy in my subject organisation and as a student representative in the steering group of the Bachelor’s Programme in Psychology, for instance.
What made you become a student representative?
Right at the start of my studies, I saw how my own feedback improved matters and how I was heard as a student. That increased my desire to influence matters. At the same time, I was interested in strengthening my own professional identity.
What has the work been like?
I have managed to influence studies concretely, at the level of individual courses, and work on the curriculum, for instance. In the executive group, we participate in the discussion actively. The themes range from individual formulations at the grassroots level to large and complex issues: from the personnel strategy to the future of education on the field.
What kind of skills have you learned?
Diplomacy and courage. Acting as the link between students and the University means balancing between different kinds of views – you are defending students’ interests while also taking into account the realities of the University’s situation. In meetings with the personnel, such as professors, you need to have the courage to open your mouth about the matters. This has helped me increase my self-confidence and courage to take a stand as well as my trust in myself and my views.
What are the best parts of being a student representative?
The best parts are the team spirit of our group and getting to know the staff members on a deeper level – creating a sort of collegiality. It also always feels good when you achieve something you have been advocating. For instance, we got a new course on gender and sexuality included in our programme at the students’ initiative. The course was super popular: the number of students signing up for it was much higher than the maximum number of participants.
What would you like to say to a fresher who is considering applying to become a student representative?
Just apply! Anyone can get involved in the work. The only requirements are interest in the work and a genuine desire to influence matters. You should trust the strength of your own vision instead of expecting someone else to be more qualified. What you get out of the work is extremely valuable. Learning to trust your own views, express ideas and negotiate – these are all skills that help you get far in life.