A Year as Communications Officer for the St John’s Common Room

Comms Officer Will Brown takes us through how he came to be involved with the SJCR and what he’s enjoyed during the past year volunteering for the student charity.

I’d arrived at university with a view to learn how to row, to write for the student paper, and to get involved in student theatre. The Common Room was something that hadn’t even crossed my mind, and I wasn’t even planning on going to the meeting until my friends all decided to go. Thomas, the treasurer at the time, encouraged people to run for the Finance Committee – mentioning how it might look good on a CV. With my CV lacking slightly, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to get involved. I left the meeting as a member of that committee, and unbeknownst to me had just signed up to what would become my main hobby at university.

It was around this time last year that I began to think about running for Communications Officer. Already managing the social media by this point, I was well-placed to make the transition further up the hierarchy, and I figured I’d enjoy doing it.

I decided against it. I was too busy. Someone else would surely run for it.

The SJCR Executive Elections at the Epiphany II meeting came and went, and the position of Communications Officer was left unfilled. I was told that someone had lost a bet, having predicted that I’d run for an exec role. I spoke to a few members of the current exec, and started to think again – maybe I did have time?

Alice, the SJCR President at the time, messaged me before Epiphany III to ask if I’d consider running for the position. When her message came through, I was halfway through writing my manifesto. I had decided that I’d make time for it.

Now, almost a year later, I’d consider that one of the best decisions I’ve made.

On paper, it makes absolutely no sense – my friends back home are baffled when I tell them that my main hobby at university is doing unpaid volunteer work for a charity. But to call it that doesn’t really do it justice. It doesn’t cover how much fun I’ve had working alongside the rest of the Exec this year to guide the progress of the SJCR. It doesn’t cover the amazing time I had during Freshers’ Week this year, in what I’d consider one of the best (and most tiring) fortnights of my life. It doesn’t cover the genuine satisfaction I’ve gotten from my role, from designing the noticeboards around college to finally working out the necessary spreadsheet formulae to extract all the Freshers’ emails in order to add them to our mailing list. Not only that, it’s given me a clear career path – I’m in the midst of applying for internships at communications consultancies. My once-lacking CV is now overflowing with potential examples.

If anyone is thinking of getting more involved, I can heartily recommend it. You’ll join an outstanding group of volunteers, and have more fun than you thought possible. You won’t regret it.

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