Jurian is the Commissioner Internal Affairs. In this article, he explains his tasks, what he has learned, and what skills you will need if you are considering to be the next Commissioner Internal Affairs.
What do you do as Commissioner Internal Affairs?
This is a question I have heard the most this year because my function is vague. Regarding internal affairs, I do basically everything regarding education, the university, and around the university. This means that I take part in several meeting organs; I meet a lot with other quality education members, staff members, and the management team. I represent all students who have problems with a specific subject. I am basically the bridge between students and staff members. Whenever students have any problems, they can come to me: I can either help them myself or help them to get to someone who can help them because I know basically everyone in the Business Administration department.
I also have daily contact with all staff members so when they want things from students or they want to know the opinion of students on several changes they want to make, they come to me, and I can advise them on anything they want to know. My function covers all things regarding education from quality of education to smaller things, like room reservations at the university and matching buddies from the buddy program that we have at the faculty. In the program, we match a Dutch student with an international student to help the start of life her for the international student. Besides that, it is a free function. I can do whatever I want.
How is doing a board year helping you?
For me, personally, it is the discipline I was sometimes lacking before. Now, every day I am here on time and I have a lot of tasks and responsibilities. One must have some discipline to do them. This is what I learned about this year. Besides that, my function is free. I sometimes joke with my board members that I can do nothing for a whole week, and they will not notice it. That’s the adventure of being an internal affair: you always have to find your own projects. That’s what was a real challenge at the beginning, but now it’s going well.
What have you learned so far?
I learned how to say ‘no’ to some people and things. I always found everything interesting when some topics came across or people wanted something from Synergy, or they thought we could help them and at first, I was like “it sounds interesting for our students” but sometimes it is not and sometimes you have to tell the people “this is not the way to reach the business administration students”, or do it yourself, or others can help you but we cannot help you. I also learned how to divide tasks and not be busy with everything. In a board year, you work closely with 5 others, and you know what everyone is working on, and in the beginning, I wanted to help everyone, but I have my own tasks and that is basically enough for the whole week. So, after that, you don’t need to be busy with anyone else’s task. You have to trust your team that they perform their own tasks.
What is the most difficult part of your function?
I think that doing so many things at the same time. University is very bureaucratic. You can’t fix some of the things in a week. You must keep lobbying for it and then you have other things in mind that you still want to fix. You can’t close one thing so fast. Sometimes, you end up working on many projects at once. Sometimes, people end up asking you questions, and I must explain that tasks take time as they have to pass through all the different organs, and everyone would like to express an opinion, but others do not necessarily see that. This might be the hard part.
What is the most fun part of your function?
The most fun part is being a part of the family on the third floor. The first time I walked into all the offices there, I was like “Where am I supposed to go? Where am I supposed to be? What is my place and function here?” but I learned quickly that they’re all friends on the second and third floor. You quickly become part of that family for one year, so you get to know everyone, you talk to everyone at the coffee machine. When I am on my way to a meeting with a specific staff member, I would have spoken to three or four before I get there. This is because they are looking for me or I need something from them. The networking part is the most fun part to do.
What advice would you give to anyone considering applying as Commissioner Internal Affairs?
My position is a lot about networking and being proactive. So, I would suggest people schedule a visit with a board member for an hour to work with us so we can one-o-one let them see what we do on daily basis. It really helps to get more insight in my function. Besides that, you really need to be proactive and look for you own challenges.
So, how should interested students sign up for a behind the scene look?
Just walk into the room and talk to the relevant board member. They will be happy to schedule an hour with you to explain and show their function. Sometimes, it can take 45 mins and sometimes it takes two hours. You can see what everyone does if you are interested, and that is totally fine with us.