A third-year student is preparing for life after university by making the most of the opportunities afforded to her by De Montfort Students’ Union and her university, boosting her employability in the process.
Fern Beard, who studies Arts and Festival Management, has been heavily involved in societies, sports and volunteering during her time at DMU and, in her second year, even set up a society designed at helping students on her course put on events and become involved with projects outside of university.
She explained: “In first year I didn’t do too much, but in second year me and a couple of friends from my course started up the Events Society, which I chaired last year, and I co-chair this year.
“We do bits and bobs as much as we can. We put on events every month, and we also have a Facebook hub, which we use for sharing other opportunities going on in the city because there’s so much going on in Leicester, that we might as well show other people.”
She continued: “It’s good for networking, and because of stuff I’ve done in the past, I’ll get emails from people asking if I want to be a part of something, but I can’t do everything, so it’s good to share it out with people who I know will be interested.
“It has definitely complimented my studies.”
Setting up the Events Society allowed Fern to become more aware of what the students’ union does, which allowed her to gain some valuable work experience by helping her to secure job roles within DSU.
She said: “It helped a lot and helped me to get to know a lot more about the students’ union, which helped me to get a Frontrunner role in the union, and then helped me get my job there.
“When the Frontrunner roles came out, in March 2015, I applied for about six roles, all roughly to do with events, arts, culture and marketing, and went for interviews for them.
“One of them was Freshers Rep Coordinator in the SU, which meant I recruited, interviewed, trained, scheduled and coordinated about 70 Fresher Reps during #FreshFest15.
“It was mental. I didn’t sleep for about two weeks!”
From there Fern said she made a natural progression into her current role as co-ordinator of Give it a Go, an initiative that focuses on getting students engaging in something different from those events and activities that are often associated with students.
Fern also has another Frontrunner role as Internships Marketing Coordinator at DMU and, as she builds up quite the CV, she believes that the effort she puts in now can only benefit her future aspirations.
She said: “Everything I do is going to benefit me in the future. It’s going to make my CV look banging!
“I am really busy a lot of the time, and manic, in and out of my house. But it’s worth it to me.
“I’m an extrovert, so I get my energy from being around people and doing things.
“It’s stressful, and I can have sleepless nights, but I love it and wouldn’t change it.”
In addition to her Frontrunner roles and society commitments, Fern also joined one of DSU’s many sports clubs when she began playing for the women’s football team, again in her second year, although this season she has decided to focus her efforts on other things.
And, as if that’s not enough, she has even found time to volunteer too, with both DSU and outside projects, including working with Oxjam, an annual outdoor music event here in Leicester.
Having been so heavily involved with DSU and Frontrunners over the last couple of years, Fern steadfastly believes that doing the same can only help shape a person’s future in a positive manner, as well as making their time at university a better experience.
She said: “It enhances the experience, and if nothing else you learn transferable skills. It’s enhancing your time at university.
“I feel a bit gutted that I didn’t do anything [in my] first year. I was quite happy in my bubble, getting to know the city, and wish I’d just thrown myself into it.”
With so much packed into the last two years, Fern has more than made up for what she missed out on in her first year, giving herself a great chance of securing a job after university.