On the 1 September, the new USC board will start their year. When we think back to how we experienced our start, the first thing that pops into our heads is that we were very confused. Many of us already had some experience with doing board years and co-determination in other places of the university, but being in the USC was different. A USC year is centered around policy-making, and this is a field that is completely different from how associations or faculty and programme-specific participational bodies function.
Furthermore, we were a diverse group comprised of many different viewpoints and modus operandi. The formal meetings and trying to fit everything into the bigger picture came with some challenges. What followed were great discussions while trying to look at all perspectives that had to be taken into account in these situations.
Isa: 'Personally, I noticed that especially at the beginning I went back to my old habits of adopting the project management style of tackling problems. This gave us a lot of extra work, but also felt rewarding, as the results were more noticeable. I think I grew the most in not trying to do everything myself, but also contacting policy workers and writing letters to the Executive board.'
Ishani: 'I feel like I have grown a lot in terms of being more confident in my opinions and adapting different strategies that fit the situation. The language barrier was frustrating at times, but overall it led not only to me increasing my understanding of the Dutch language, but learning to be patient and being okay with relying on my peers.'