Friday, 20 February 2015

Quitting

Giving up is one of the hardest things in the world to do. Human beings have a tendency to view sunk costs as retrievable, which they're not. If you've put five years into a relationship, you can't get them back - but people let it cloud their judgement anyway. If you've gambled a lot of money on an investment, you feel the need to find more money, in the hope you'll get it back.

I've invested five years, on and off, on the Students' Association here at Aberdeen University. I've seen a whole host of brilliant people come through, argued passionately for policies that made students' better, and for the past year I've been working hard on employability matters.

I've sunk a lot in, and at the start of this year I wanted to run for a Sabbatical role, to keep doing what I'm doing, to keep improving the student experience. I got my nominations in order, my team, my campaign prep - and then I sat down for two days and I thought about what I want to do.

And it's not this. I don't want to be elected. If I were to continue to work for students, I'd do it as a member of staff driving policy and supporting officers - but I don't think an election is going to give me that chance. I think that position is going to require someone who will be present, all the time, always focussed on the role and the responsibilities of that role.

I don't think Rob's done that this year. He's been absolutely brilliant fighting on education, but his work with me on employability has been non-existent. That's how he works, and to be honest I'm almost thankful to him for that, because it gave me the opportunity to take responsibility for projects that I might not have otherwise taken on. But I can't match that passion, and what's needed is someone who will continue to fight in the same vein as he has. That wouldn't be me.

This year I've learnt so much about employability, about placements, about how to generate interest for students to become more employable. More people than ever are attending university, and that's amazing, but it means graduates need to be able to show skills that they didn't have to before. This skilling up will become more and more important, and I'm confident that at the very least next year's VP Employability will work hard on that.

But all of this experience means nothing unless you can convince people that you're the right person for the job, and I'm not sure I can. I believe in my ideas; I'm confident they'll work.

But I don't think I'm the right person to make them happen.

I'm going to try to find a job out there in the world for a little while, and maybe one day I'll come back to student unions and bring the ideas of others to fruition - and maybe I won't.

But in the last year I've met someone who's made me a better person, who makes me feel invincible, whom I love. And although I've wanted to be in charge since I arrived - does anyone remember that awful, awful second year campaign? - I've realised there's something far more important. I'm not going to risk this chance at happiness for the sake of the Students' Association and its members.

So those are my reasons. I'm not looking to be elected: I want to teach, not to fight.

Besides, I want to find a cheap, one-bedroom flat in London to share with my partner and my cat. That's quite enough challenge for the moment.