The life of Marieke

February 5th, 2019

Tsveta Milenova

Ever wondered what a board year as a secretary entails? Or, simply how Marieke is doing, already six months into the board experience? In this article, you’ll get to know what Marieke’s tasks are and how she feels about her board life.

So, since you already mentioned that you don’t have a typical day or month, could you tell us a bit about the tasks that come more frequent throughout the month?

‘’As a secretary, I’m responsible for the board email, the secretary email, the website maintenance, the cloud, etc. I also support and guide a total of 5 committees which is more than most of the board members. We have our weekly board meetings on Wednesday mornings where we discuss function-related issues, update each other on our work, and the committees. Without these meetings, you could end up concentrating on yourself too much. In addition, to maintain a friendly environment, we have a ‘round of honesty’ in which we get things off our chest. It‘s a good initiative to have because then others can help you, and it helps to stay nice to each other. We attend all organized activities together. We got elected as the board but we didn’t really know each other until we started working together. During the board transition period, the previous board trained us to perform our functions properly. As a group, we really got to know each other well during the introduction week as we were constantly together. Then we had the board weekend to further learn things about each other. Now, we’re a close group of friends. We also do no-board related activities and I think it’s always good to have these moments where we’re just a group of friends and don’t have to think about our board functions. We once had a training on time-management during which we bonded even more, but in an educational way.

 

What do you like the most about your board experience thus far?

The fact that every day is different. Every activity but also every email or problem. It certainly requires good management and oversight to cope with these situations properly.


What did you learn so far?

At first I  was afraid of working in an office and thought it wouldn’t suit me. Now, I feel that working in an office not only  means that I should do my tasks but that I can also socialise with others. I am no longer afraid of working in an office and I also learned to overcome stress. In the beginning, we were trying to cram everything daily. Now, we learned to prioritize tasks by doing them in terms of urgency. I also learned to cooperate with people. Sometimes, that means giving people a ‘no’. Although it can be difficult, especially when working with committees, I think it’s important to do sometimes.

 

What do you hope to learn in the period to come?

I always wanted to work for myself (and have my own company) and now I get to experience this. I am also improving my social skills. I do a lot of networking with other study associations in Nijmegen, with our partner associations from different universities,  with the whole university and corporate businesses. You learn how to professionally communicate in such situations and also to draw the line between professionalism and friends. This is because I have a few friends in the boards of other associations and we have some friendly rivalry happening.

 

Would you recommend a board year?

Yes! I think if you want to get to know multiple things, a board year would be a great experience. You learn a lot, develop your social skills and It looks good on your resumé. Doing a board year means keeping the balance between fun activities and learning experiences. It is also really good for meeting new people and learning how things get done. Due to our partners, you develop much  more of an insider perspective of the companies and make friends with other boards. Learning is good for your future and career development.