I nominated myself in the SRC elections and lost

My Journey to UNSA SRC: Dealing with Rejection and Finding Growth

Have you ever considered the possibility of making a significant impact on your university’s services? I have- SO much so that I nominated myself as a student representative for the UNSA SRC (University of Newcastle Student Association Student Representative Council). My goal was to be a voice for fellow students and drive positive changes on our campus.

Spoiler alert: I failed. 

So, what do you do when faced with rejection? In this article, I’ll share the valuable lessons I learned during this experience, especially when dealing with the harsh reality of rejection. But here’s the important part: if you’re thinking about applying for UNSA SRC positions, whether you’ve faced rejection or not, I highly encourage you to do so! The SRC comprises of your peers who have been selected to represent the student community. They work closely with UNSA to advocate for student needs and support programs, all with the aim of enhancing your university experience. 

The Decision to Nominate 

Graphic of people's hands exchanging and holding speech bubbles and idea bubbles.

The decision to nominate myself dates to my first year as a student at the University of Newcastle. To me, the university experience is holistic: a tight-knit community with its own systems and opportunities. In short, making the most of your time at university is getting involved in various activities, whether they are cultural events, extracurricular academics, volunteering or actively contributing to improving the university’s services. 

I saw an opportunity to represent the student body and advocate for positive changes that could benefit us all. Most importantly, I was aware of the competitive nature of the process and had braced myself for the possibility of rejection from the very beginning. 

The Nomination Process 

The nomination process is straightforward. At the start of the second semester, UNSA sends out emails inviting all students to nominate for SRC positions. Each position is meticulously described on their website, along with eligibility criteria. Students are encouraged to nominate for as many positions as they qualify for and UNSA provides a form where you can submit a photo along with a statement supporting your candidacy. 

However, being a first-time election candidate, I must admit I was unprepared. 

An image of a concrete pillar with a poster taped to it requesting people to vote for Yasmina.
Photo taken by myself (Yasmina) of one of my posters in Callaghan. I still could not bring myself to make my face occupy the space on an A4.

Firstly, even though I knew the values I wanted to champion, my campaign statement lacked specificity. Compared to those of more experienced candidates who articulated their goals clearly, mine was vague. 

Secondly, my time management was a mess. Juggling campaign activities with studying, an internship and work proved challenging. UNSA offers each candidate the option to print 100 posters for free. After careful consideration, I decided to print and display them during the final week of the voting process. The idea of my portrait on 100 A4 sheets of paper felt awkward, but I should have made that decision earlier. 

Despite time constraints, I shared my nomination and motivations with peers and displayed my posters on campus walls. I also took to social media to reach students I couldn’t connect with in person. 

Dealing with Rejection and Finding Growth 

Image of a notebook with the words 'why is this happening to me?' crossed out and the words 'what can I learn from this?' replaced underneath

Unfortunately, I won’t be representing students this year. Here are my key takeaways for finding growth in rejection: 

Self-Reflection: Embrace failure as a part of life. Reflect on what went wrong; it’s a valuable exercise in identifying areas for improvement. 
Resilience: Remember that rejection doesn’t diminish your worth. Even the most successful individuals face setbacks. 
Persistence: Stay engaged. Continue contributing to your community and honing your leadership skills. 

Success stories often include chapters of failure. When you’re passionate and committed to a goal, rejection can be tough to accept. In your university life and beyond, use these moments to nurture your grit.  

For those aspiring to become SRC representatives, go for it! With persistence and a passion for positive change, you can transform setbacks into opportunities for growth and success. 

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