The Highs and Lows of Student Politics

By Sophie Liley


When I think about election week, the thing I remember most is probably being completely and utterly sick of the colour blue. Raiding my cupboard for weeks afterwards, deploring the abundance of blue and the complete lack of say, pink, or some other politically neutral colour. Basically what I’m saying is I’ve been scarred for life by student politics – and that I am a hack – and proud.


Last year was my first ever experience of student politics. I was still a fresher, running for an office bearer position (apparently this is rare – can’t for the life of me see why :P) Never before had I seen condoned harassment on such a widespread level. Seriously, as much as I thank everyone who voted, I would like to sincerely apologise for our behaviour. We know it’s ridiculous, but once you’re standing there, approaching complete strangers, most of whom “don’t even go here” (come on guys, I know that is the oldest politician avoiding lie in the book), and you’ve had four coffees and less hours of sleep, it doesn’t matter anymore. You’re wearing a onesie, some guy is half naked and covered in body paint, and you’re arguing with an opponent on the line about capitalism and subway cookies, and you know what? You’re probably enjoying it.


Sad as it is, elections were probably two of the most exciting weeks of my life. I felt involved, I felt like I was actually doing something with my life other than lying in bed watching Grey’s Anatomy, and to be honest, I felt kind of important.


Another strange thing about it is that from memory, the best moment of that two weeks was not when I won my election and Ben Watson made me stand on a couch in Cap S while he announced it to a crowd of crying, drunk student politicians (who then got me drunk – you know who you are). It was actually during campaign week, on a Wednesday, I believe at twelve O’clock, when I got clapped out of Jonathon’s popular music lecture. I was a full time ballet dancer for two years, so I’m familiar with being clapped at, but the thing was, these people were clapping because I stood up (and there were like three hundred of you, and you’re kind of intimidating) and I talked about something that meant a lot to me, in a way that obviously made it mean something to you. And also I’m kind of good at arguing.  So it was a good feeling and it’s moments like that, when people actually, actively listen, and then change how they think about something, that makes you think you did the right thing by getting involved in all of this insanity.


I know we’re an annoying bunch, and as much as I never wanted to be a “hack”, I realised that by being at the guild, on a weekend, voluntarily, I already am one. We’re not perfect, we make mistakes and we usually get caught up in our own mad ideas without actually stopping to think about these things – but we’re young and our thinking is still impaired by our stunted frontal lobes, same as yours. But we do it, most likely sacrificing our sanity in the process, because we believe in something, and we actually do want to make a difference. And because Subway cookies are kind of good, too. 


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