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My 3 lessons from being the President of UCDSU for a year

The day has come to wrap up my time as President of UCD Students' Union. Our SU has a long history and legacy, and it has been a privilege to leave my own mark on it. As the 6th woman to hold the position (compared with 39 men) and the first immigrant, I was excited to bring a fresh perspective and experience to the table. My main goal for the year was to improve the reputation and trust that the SU had with the student body and with the campus community. I tried my best to serve students and stand up for our rights at every possible opportunity. I was lucky that I got to do this with a brilliant team at my side.

After an incredibly varied and busy period of 12 months, I have learned and experienced a lot. From team management, to budgeting, campaigning, media, negotiation, facilitation of training, and plenty more that I could talk about. However, if I was to pick the top things that I will be taking away from my term, then these three points would be the most important lessons and reflections:

1. Trust your gut.

In the SU, the minute you take up office you are thrown into a massive pool of responsibilities. On top of that, random and unprecedented events are quite common throughout the year, so you and your team need to trust and support each other in facing them. As President, you have to learn to make good decisions when under pressure. Whether it's answering individual students who turn to you for help or direction, or entering a room full of management, mid-discussion about a matter affecting students that requires your input to shape a decision - you have to find your voice and learn to use it. Fast!

My attitude to the role was that I had a duty not to let the students who elected me down, and to always do my very best to achieve positive changes for them. While this approach was very motivating, sometimes it amplified the pressure that I was under to an extreme. I had to learn to have faith in my own leadership ability, to trust my team and consult them when I needed support, and to listen to my gut feeling when I was put on the spot to make decisions.