Katy S – Virgo? Do you believe in star signs?
Katy P – Victory!!! Tell me about a time you ‘won’.
Peg – Van Gogh – show us your artistic ability or tell us about it.
I was completely torn between Katy’s theme and mine today, so I asked twitter (1 or 2?) and received unanimous votes for 2…Victory!
I’ve never really been a winner, mainly because I didn’t ever compete. I’m not particularly sporty, I went to college before there was an option to be a prefect or head girl and when I went to my local youth theatre every Sunday I was more concerned with seeing my friends than landing the lead role! I was Mrs Bedwin in Oliver, Gloria Growlie in the Wizard of Oz and various chorus parts within other shows that we did and that was fine with me. It was probably fine with the choreographer too as I have two left feet!
However at university I found something I was passionate about and also rather good at. In my first year I was elected to be a student rep for my course, acting as a liaison between the students and university. In second year I ran for election onto a few higher committees and won, and in third year I decided to run for one of the full time Presidential positions within the Students’ Union. I was terrified, but determined. The decision came after overhearing a conversation from a previous winner. It was the day after the election results, and the new President elect was sat in the canteen telling their friends how they hadn’t written their own manifesto, had no intention to work past 3pm any day and aimed to have every Friday off. I had voted for this candidate and was furious. Pretty much from that moment I decided to run the following year, to fix everything I was sure was going to go wrong under this person, and many more university issues besides.
Election week is still one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced. The prep is a whirlwind of campaign ideas, designing posters, decorating t shirts and for me writing on pegs. I had the most amazing flatmates who gave up their time to help me talk to voters, hand out sweets and most importantly ensure I ate something other than maoam every day!
My flatmates helping me put my campaign together.
My parents helped by sewing banners, dying t shirts and cooking up a storm of meals which could just be microwaved. I’ll never forget the support from friends, family and thousands of people I’d never even met who offered me encouragement during the week. Oddly, some of my best supporters were two of my rivals. By mid-week Gail, Sanjay and I had become firm friends; we labelled ourselves Team Vice (as we were all running for the VP role) and I honestly meant it when I wished them luck before the results. They’re amazing people and I would have been happy to see either of them succeed.
Friday 7th March, 2008 was my 21st birthday. I started it on the UWE roundabout waving at buses and cars as students arrived at university for the day. The next few hours involved running round talking to students and trying to secure the final votes. At midday, just before voting closed, all the candidates were gathered outside the library; we hadn’t slept in a week and were all running on sugar highs from our own sweets. As last seconds past I played the countdown tune on my phone and we all cheered before heading off to clean up the campus and have a well-earned drink.
The crowd were gathered in Escape Bar, and to my horror I was called up on stage first as the crowd sung me happy birthday. I had to wear a cake hat. Cringe!
Then it was time. Nerys Neath took to the stage and called up the candidates for Vice President. Gail, Sanjay, Sam and I stood with our arms round each other trembling.
I survived the first round, I survived the second…it was down to me and Sanjay. Those seconds felt like a year, but suddenly my name was called and it was over. I’d won. I was the new SRC Vice President of UWESU.
The thing no one can prepare you for though, in a situation like that, is how close you become to your fellow candidates. Gail and Sanjay were gutted, and there was nothing I could do. The following year Gail ran again and won, and proved herself to be the most flipping fantastic SRC Vice President that Union has ever had. I was SRC President by then and honestly don’t know what I’d have done without her.
After the elections my flatmates took me home, ready to go out and celebrate my win and birthday! In reality I fell asleep on the sofa (I’d tried to nap in my room but after the buzz of the week it was too quiet for me to sleep, that shows you how out of it I was!) and was woken up at 11pm, fed lasagne and told to go to bed. The next day we celebrated in style, but that day I was just exhausted in the way which only elections can exhaust you. However, if I could go and do the whole week again I would, in a heartbeat. It was amazing!
And to my abolsutely fabulous Team Vice… you’re awesome! Thanks for everything and where the hell is Sam Jones?! xx
Scores after Day 20:
Katy S: 17
Katy P: 20