As a previous arts graduate my journey into the student movement has come full circle; it was during my time studying Art and Design throughout University and College that I found a passion for student rights, after previously being elected as a student rep and governor, (so it seemed a natural progression for me to return to the University environment).
I joined Beds SU as an advisor after previously working as a Gateway Assessor for Citizens Advice, this provided me with the necessary platform to deal with challenging and complex situations. I also battle through long term hidden illnesses and consider myself to be somewhat of an auto immune warrior – I am very enthusiastic about ensuring that everyone feels equal and are provided with the same opportunities. Beds SU is very flexible and supportive of my health needs which gives me the confidence to be open if I am not feeling my best.
In the world of student advice no week is the same-each day brings new challenges and problems to help resolve-I assist students with a wide variety of issues including academic appeals, complaints, housing, finance, wellbeing and any other issue that presents itself.
My day typically starts with a hazelnut hot chocolate to power me through, replying to emails and general administrative work such as adding student enquiries and cases to our system, writing reports or supporting letters, arranging appointments and attending fitness to practise or academic conduct panels with students. I am also always looking for creative and innovative ways to raise awareness of our advice campaigns.
Sometimes a student may just want to come in and have a chat to let off some steam, often we are the first point of contact and a friendly ear so it helps to be able to have good listening and communication skills.
There are days when you may feel snowed under-however being in a supportive team and having someone you have been helping come in to tell you that their problem has been solved makes all the difficult days worthwhile and reminds you why you are an advisor.
I see a diverse range of students from home and international to student parents. Each one has a unique story to tell and differing needs.
Progression wise working at Beds SU has provided me with a great range of training opportunities and I am currently studying an NVQ Level 4 Diploma in Advice and Guidance.
It may sound cliché but working in a Union feels like you are part of a family, we are all working together because we genuinely care about improving the student experience and journey.
– Misty Athena Stokes, Student Advisor – Beds SU