During my studies, I have had time to operate for more than three years in my guild’s board activities and in between I have participated in many kinds of other organizing and activities. However, I have never been able to explain why I am interested in association activities. Every year, I have always applied for some new position, although the days in association activities and now also in TREY’s board consist mostly of routine chores; write an email, make an event budget, read the agenda. You would think you would get bored at some point.
Still, there is occasionally something exciting that restores the glamor of the activities. Indeed, something new and exciting was experienced at least at the opening seminar of the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL) on 11 and 12 February. In accordance with the spirit of the times, the event was held remotely, but nonetheless, during the seminar, interesting speeches were heard, for example, on equality in higher education, upcoming municipal elections and SYL’s 100th anniversary year. The common hype was conveyed through a stream, and twitter just sang as people shared their best study memories, encouraged by SYL’s 100th anniversary campaign.
During the seminar, sector-specific meetings were held in addition to the shared programme. I myself participated in the discussion of the student union communication sectors. And again, what many have been able to experience in their lives was realised: what better way to share ideas than with people who do similar jobs and face the same challenges on a daily basis as you do in your own work! The feeling is both inspiring and sometimes even comforting when someone finally understands and sees things from the same perspective. I have experienced the same feeling in association activities in the past, for example, by participating in the subject association actives’ meetings organized by TREY, for example, in Syndikaatti’s meetings for the subject associations’ chairs. These colleague meetings often managed to maintain enthusiasm and motivation for one’s own work in the middle of everyday life. Of course, the same phenomena apply to the rest of life. Identifying memes are shared online, many things have their own peer support groups, and it’s nice to chat with friends by the tea late into the night. A shared sorrow is only a half sorrow and shared joy and enthusiasm are double.
Especially in association activities and working life, this experience of sharing sometimes also gets its own nuance. In that case, the shared feeling can be combined with the enthusiasm that together we can achieve something and create something new. When the group hits the heads together, the complaint about the lack of events suddenly changes to the planning of a completely new concept of remote events, or the joint presentation in the Swedish course gets a new and more insightful perspective. It is even more rewarding when working together leads to results after all the effort. The last time I got this feeling was when we videoed the first TREY News of the year. The long lines from the update process of the University Regulations were tricky to learn, but eventually the video got ready, and the feeling was triumphant throughout the whole filming team. I look forward to more similar moments this year!
I would also like to remind you that the best ideas and those feelings of inspiration experienced by a group often arise by chance alongside everyday activities. Therefore, even at this remote period, it is good to arrange time for free conversation with friends and colleagues, for example in the form of shared Zoom coffee breaks. That’s where those everyday challenges unexpectedly start to unravel by throwing ideas around!