By Mira Ceti Andreassen – AHSS Vice Presidential Candidate
So, it’s nearing the end of March. Finances are running low, deadlines are coming up, and there’s a pandemic spreading faster than wildfire, closing everything around us. People are scared, panicked even, and it’s easy to buckle under the pressure, grab everything you can, and run for the mountains. And yet, you haven’t. You’re still here. We’re still here.
When I first came to ARU, I was scared I wouldn’t fit in. I was just old enough to be categorised as a mature student, which added on to the feeling of shame I had for once dropping out of college and needing to redo all of it again. Now, don’t get me wrong. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a mature student. In fact, the strength it takes to decide to take that step and go back into an education field mainly dominated by young people “on track” is a strength unlike many others, but it took me a long time to realise that. It wasn’t until I recognised that if I hadn’t dropped out the first time around, I would not have been strong enough to go to university. My path was unconventional, but not wrong. It has made me stronger and prepared me better for my future.
Which brings me back to the beginning. I don’t believe there is such a thing as a wrong path. Some of you reading this will be at university ahead of the curve. Some of you might feel like you are a bit behind. Others will have already realised what I have, that time is a social construct, and that worrying about when you came to uni is pointless. You are here. You are reaching your potential, and I am so incredibly proud of every single one of you, no matter where you come from or where you are in life.
Now, I believe that my unconventional route has put me in a position where I am uniquely qualified to represent all students at ARU. I have seen both sides of the coin, I have been the privileged and the oppressed, and I have the knowledge and wisdom that comes from having stood completely on my own two feet and built myself up to where I am today. My perspective is a little bit different from all sides, a little bit unconventional, but 100% honest.
Now, how about that honesty? As a student ambassador, I have learned to reflect on all the good things at ARU – I love the diverse modules, the support my course leader has given me, and the incredibly supportive community I found (eventually) with the Students’ Union. However, this has not left me blind or biased, and I am painfully aware of the areas that need improving. I am constantly disappointed at the lack of financial and integrational support for international and EU students. I am appalled at the university refusing to accept that the overall mental health condition is worsening in higher education levels. I am outraged at the expected level of study engagement, a whole 50 hours a week of both lecture time and self-study, while still expecting students to have time to work and fund their own studies, ignoring the fact that it is straight-up irresponsible to work upwards of 70 hours in total and still have a physically and socially healthy and active life. These are just some of the things I am acutely aware of and am dedicated to spending the next year fixing. I see you; I hear you, and I refuse to ignore even a single one of the student voices I will be representing if I get elected.
I am Mira-Ceti. I am like you; a student. I have a voice, too much love, and a never-ending passion to make a difference. I can’t move mountains, nor will I ever tell anyone that I can. But with the help of this amazingly supportive student community I have grown to love so much, we can make changes. I will not stand down until I improve students’ lives, and I will not give up or leave anyone behind, nor will any of my SUitable Candidates. So, tell me what you want, what you really, really want. Let’s Chat.
Visit the SU website to cast your vote. Polls close on March 20th at 2 PM.
Images: Mira Ceti Andreassen
Disclaimer: This article has not been edited by The Ruskin Journal. The Journal will publish similar submissions from other election candidates that want to get involved. Contact the editor for more information.