What does your role involve?
I’m a Student Advisor, working for Heriot-Watt Student Union / student associations. The role is to represent and help students with any issues they have – making academic appeals, disciplinary processes, mitigating circumstances applications, complaints, financial hardship, personal crises and mental health problems. We also run awareness raising campaigns, and support the work to engage students in all aspects of our Union.
What’s the best thing about it?
I love being front line, with the focus on offering help and support to students. I love being part of a team supporting students in all kinds of difficult situations – and in some cases making a practical contribution to their progression and success. I love all the many events in the cycle of the HWUSU year such as Elections, Freshers week, and our Learning and Teaching Oscars.
How did you get here?
After a career (30 years) in the social care sector (Learning Disability residential and day-care management) I went for a complete change and started at HWUSU over a year ago. Going from Learning Disability services to advising students may appear a leap – and it is – but all the skills of listening, my social care legislative background, and my understanding of why people are vulnerable have stood me in good stead and the change has been extremely inspiring.
What was the most helpful piece of learning you picked up along the way?
Be clear about what you want to contribute, and what you want to gain from any job. Do your best to see and appreciate the positives. Recognise how valuable it is for your whole life when you have professional, supportive and fun work colleagues.