What are they? Considering the fact that I had absolutely no idea when I started in first year, that is an absolutely valid question! The official answer is that they’re the voice and elected representative of their class. But what does that mean? What do they actually do? And most importantly, why should I get involved?
Well let me start by telling you why I chose to become a class rep. When I started back in first year, I was far, far more introverted than I am now. I remember being afraid to even speak out in class, let alone put myself forward for anything. But I knew that nothing would ever change if I didn’t force myself outside of my comfort zone. I was determined to actually make my college experience something other than attending lectures and passing exams.
So I started saying yes to absolutely everything. When societies had their open days, I showed up. When the college were looking for volunteers, I put my hand up. And when we got an email encouraging us to become a class rep, you guessed it, I applied.
And it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
I know that may seem dramatic (shocker, that’s me), but I genuinely mean that. Because the moment I became a class rep, I became the voice of my class. If someone in my course had issues, they’d ask me for help. It meant that I actually engaged with people around me, and it meant I was emailing my lecturers when issues arose. And suddenly I wasn’t just a student number to the college, I was someone who was active and involved. Lecturers knowing your name is a good thing when you’re looking for help with assignments (or need a reference!)
As well, being a class rep meant I was invited to attend class rep meetings. This in turn meant that when I needed more advice or help about issues, I had the support of an entire school of class reps to help me. Plus I made so, so many friends. One of my friends from secondary school just last week said “How do you have SO MANY friends, where do you FIND THEM”, and the answer is by becoming a class rep! I met so many other active and engaged students, and it made life so much more exciting!
Becoming a class rep is also a stepping stone to so much more. Because of it, I ended up joining student council, I put myself forward for College Officer, and I ended up having my face plastered all over Kevin Street for a solid year during the pandemic! As well, it helps during an interview when they ask about leadership and teamwork skills – being a class rep is regularly my go-to proof of engagement.
Even aside from the friends, the references, and the free sweatshirts (yes, branded merch), being a class rep gave me the confidence to do so much more. If it wasn’t for becoming a class rep, I wouldn’t be involved in societies, let alone be able to give a 15 minute presentation in front of my class.
I can’t think of any reason why someone wouldn’t put themselves forward for class rep, except for fear of the unknown. But if college and a pandemic has taught me anything, it’s that you should never be afraid of putting yourself out there, because you never know when you’ll spend a year behind a screen! So get involved, seize an opportunity, and become the elected representative of your course – get yourself some confidence, some free merch and enjoy your time at college!
And if you have any questions about becoming a class rep, don’t be afraid to email me (Brian Jordan) at firstname.lastname@example.org!
To find out more about the Class Rep role or to put yourself forward, check out this info over on our tudublinsu.ie website.