Poets Are More Than You Think

By Ciéra Cree – Poetry and poets are something which seem to scare people. Upon learning that poetry was being taught in an English class, I remember audibly hearing the…

By Ciéra Cree

Poetry and poets are something which seem to scare people. Upon learning that poetry was being taught in an English class, I remember audibly hearing the disappointment from people’s mouths whilst silently cheering to myself about getting to indulge in my passion. So, the question raised here – why do I not share in this feeling? What do I believe, or know, is different about poets to many who remain sceptical that they are little more than pretentious?

The Pretentious, the Posh & the Poor

Within the world of literature there’s, undeniably, a lot of stereotyping. As echoed by HuffPost’s article ‘6 Reasons Why People Hate Poetry’, poets and poetry in itself are often assumed to be pretentious and impossible for the average person to become. A poet is imagined as an almost mythical creature who spouts words that others can’t comprehend, deeming their lack of understanding as a sign of them holding a higher level of intellect. This thought is one of the main reasons why people can be scared off by the idea of poetry – inclusivity. ‘It’s boring, it’s elitist, it’s snobby, stuck-up or exclusive’, continues Rebecca Roach, citing a number of common reasons given by the public as to why poetry is not of personal interest.

Think back to your youth; how were you first introduced to poetry? For many people, their first steps into the world of poetry were through English Literature classes introducing them to the works of William Shakespeare and various other classic writers such as Carol Ann Duffy, Emily Dickenson and William Wordsworth. After being first acquainted with these poets, students seem to respond in one of two directions: they either love poetry or don’t care for it at all. idebate offers an interesting dual-sided debate based on the topic of whether poetry should remain as a part of the school curriculum. The debate delves into the pros and cons of poetry being kept as a taught subject, accumulating plus points as it being a method of self expression and exploration, as well as cons for its complexity not being of high importance for young children. 

‘Students need to study the basics of language, not a complex form such as poetry’ – idebate

I personally believe in keeping poetry in the curriculum. However, the ways that it is introduced need updating. Firstly, teachers need to work against the pre-existing stigmas of poets. I’m an ex-Sociology student and cease to forget the numerous lectures I attended stating that poetry is a form of posh-people’s “high culture” among society. Yes, this may be true in its historical context, but consistently ingraining this idea into the minds of young people today is off-putting. 

Secondly, I feel that it’s crucial to vary the content being taught within institutions about poetry. Neil Bowen, Head of English at Wells Cathedral School in the UK writing for Interesting Literature, believes that the reason for historical figures typically being taught at schools is due to the fact that teachers ‘simply have more expertise on the older Literature and are, therefore, more confident and comfortable teaching it’. 

I feel that this should be challenged. Yes, learning about Shakespeare is inspirational, but there are so many inspirational people alive in the contemporary world that young people may find to be more relatable. Additionally, it’s important that people know that they don’t have to be someone of the caliber of Shakespeare in order to experience creating poetry. Poetry should be accessible to everyone, for everyone.

And thirdly, I believe that poetry should be taken more seriously as a career. There are many write ups serving to break down the stereotype of the poor “starving artist”, but the notion of it remains to exist. It stands as true that to make a career out of being a poet with no other means of income is a difficult pursuit, although it is not impossible and can still be a strong side hustle. By building a hefty portfolio, submitting to magazines and entering competitions, a person can enter the professional aspect of how to become a poet.

My Beginning: From Silent Poet to Laureate

It was around the age of 7 or 8 where I can first recall writing poetry. I remember getting my first piece published in a primary school newsletter, happily talking in verse about the lovely things around during the summer.

By 2018, aside from that childhood instance, I hadn’t shared any of my poetry publically. I was sitting in the library at sixth form in a free period before Sociology when I decided that it was time to write, with the aim of producing a competition-worthy piece. I had heard news floating around that there was a competition being hosted by Norwich’s National Centre for Writing, and that they were looking for submissions from people like me.

So, I wrote. I imagined myself as an old-fashioned writer writing something profound; something powerful. I submitted my piece, 100 Years of Silence (Women’s Vote), and it won the competition. It also granted me the title of being the first female Young Norfolk Laureate.

Ciéra (second, left) at Dragon Hall (Norwich) with other entrants of the competition.

Being a laureate was a valuable experience. I was given the opportunity to spend a year honing my craft by working alongside established poets and exploring the broader realm of literature surrounding poetry.

I taught a group of Girl Guides about writing at their first ever Wonder of Words Festival, completed commissions and performed at various open mics. Some of the places that I performed at included the Anteros Arts Foundation, events hosted by Young Norfolk Arts and Dragon Hall.

Dragon Hall, now converted into The National Centre for Writing, is a 600 year-old building with a lot of history. It is said to have housed a number of great people during its past, including Shakespeare himself. But poetry isn’t all about walking inside of pretty buildings and using long words – it involves work beyond work!

The Hard Work and the Hustle

It was around three years ago that Molly Naylor, an old mentor of mine, introduced me to the minefield of online poetry submissions. She showed me a website called Submittable, and I was instantly hooked. Submittable is an online submissions platform for writers and artists of varying genres. On this website, creators can search for opportunities with magazines, zines and other platforms, and submit their work in the hopes of getting it accepted. Some opportunities pay their contributors while others – often the more prestigious ones – require an entry fee to submit to their publications. Submitting work and getting it accepted is a great way for poets to begin constructing their portfolio and gaining recognition. However, as Lewis Buxton (another great mentor of mine) once told me, ‘For every piece of work that [you] get accepted, you will receive at least one hundred rejections’.

I learned pretty quickly that he was right. I would wake up day after day to an inbox of rejection emails from places that I could only ever dream of being featured in. It was tough, but you have to persist.

There are also poetry competitions for aspiring poets to enter. A competition is on a higher scale than a regular submission, meaning that winning or placing well in one is great publicity for a poet. Upon winning some competitions, poets are even offered the publication of their own short book as a prize, too.

Competitions, although abundant, can seem impossible. Rejection emails remain ripe but, as ever, a poet must persist and continue to not feel disheartened. Over the years, I have entered many competitions aside from the one granting me a laureateship. I have been rejected by The Poetry Society, The Poetry Business and Mslexia, to name a few. But I have also had warmer receptions as well. I’m proud to say that I have been highly commended by The Royal Society of Literature for my poem, ‘Tranquility’, shortlisted and invited to a London-based event by Streetcake Experimental, and published in an Australian anthology of love poems with Poetry D’Amour 2019. I was even invited to the anthology launch in Australia, although I couldn’t make it.

The hard work and hustle involved in seeking publication is truly exhausting, but simultaneously amazing. After I while I learned to see each rejection email as an at-least-you-tried and as a stepping stone closer to the next piece of good news. It feels so good to have a piece accepted, but it’s important to learn to accept the downfalls along the way.

Broadening Your Horizons

Poetry isn’t just about writing, it can be performing, artistic and competitive! Below you can see photos from an Open Mic which I attended, the ticket of a poetry slam which I competed in and some blackout poetry that I created:

I hope that this article has taught you a bit more about what poets are. Poets aren’t idle dreamers; they are hard workers faced by torrents of rejection and stereotyping, and deserve to be recognised as artists in their own right.

Images: Ciéra Cree, Bee Newboult, Norwich National Centre for Writing and Laura Chouette

‘Conversations with Friends’ (2017) by Sally Rooney – Book Review

By Lily Brown – I finally got around to reading Sally Rooney’s debut novel Conversations with Friends last month. I had read Normal People in 2019 for a book club meeting and…

By Lily Brown

I finally got around to reading Sally Rooney’s debut novel Conversations with Friends last month. I had read Normal People in 2019 for a book club meeting and loved it, my appreciation for the characters growing deeper when watching the excellent adaptation by the BBC last year. I didn’t know whether I wanted to risk reading Conversations with Friends and risk it not living up to the same level of perfection. 

Disclaimer: Although not detailed in the review, this book deals with sensitive topics such as self harm. This review will also contains spoilers.

Conversations with Friends centres on Frances, a 21-year-old student, and her friend and ex-girlfriend, Bobbi who end up befriending Melissa, a journalist writing a profile on their performance poetry. The plot progresses when Frances and Melissa’s actor husband Nick, become involved in an affair which continues during a holiday they all take to France together. I find Rooney’s writing style compelling, her books taking me only days to read whereas others would take weeks. While I didn’t quite connect with the characters of Frances, Bobbi, Nick and Melissa in the same way I did with Marianne and Connell, the way that their lives became entangled was interesting even if some of the plot points seemed improbable at times. As with Normal People, I found the inclusion of the university setting to be an interesting addition to the novel, with Frances using the library as a space for introspection. 

Front cover image of ‘Conversations with Friends’ by Sarah Rooney (2017)

I’ve read some criticism of Rooney’s work with reviewers saying that they find her characters unlikeable and, therefore, the books unenjoyable. However, I feel that the way Rooney is able to depict real characters complete with flaws who are also able to identify these flaws in themselves is an admirable complexity. There are times when the characters might do or say something which they regret or behave in ways that they later wish to rectify. While not exactly pretty, these moments make up parts of all of our lives and it is valuable to see them represented among the book’s pages. It also makes it harder to fit the characters into particular boxes with none of the characters fitting the hero or villain tropes perfectly. 

While it would be easy to feel sorry for Melissa, Rooney reveals that she too, has been unfaithful in the past and Bobbi tells Frances that she and Melissa shared a kiss. Bobbi is portrayed as an overbearing figure at times, dominating conversations and alienating others with her opinions. As narrator, it is Frances’ thoughts and feelings we receive the most access to and her attitudes to various aspects of her life can seem confusing and misguided at times. When people ask her about future career options she responds ambivalently as though she doesn’t regard these considerations as urgent or pressing in any way. This is in stark contrast to other characters including Philip who works with Frances as an intern at a literary agency during the summer. 

Another thing that I find striking is Rooney’s interweaving of important topics into her writing. There are mentions of self-harming, alcohol abuse and chronic illnesses among others in Conversations with Friends, and while some of these topics are dealt with in more depth than others their appearance in the novel may help readers to feel that they are not alone when going through similar situations. I found Frances’ endometriosis diagnosis particularly moving as she reckons with the implications of potentially not being able to have children, highlighted by her meeting Nick’s beloved niece. Endometriosis can go undiagnosed for years so I think it is very useful to include it here, to raise awareness of this long-term condition and the effects that it can have on people. 

Many of these issues have no conclusion. Frances’ relationship with her father continues to worsen and his health deteriorates towards the end of the novel. The ending of the novel also leaves open a number of possibilities for Frances, Bobbi, Melissa and Nick. Frances has started getting closer to Bobbi again, although Bobbi makes it clear that she is not her girlfriend, and in the very last words of the novel Frances makes an impulsive decision to reunite with Nick. This ending indicates that nothing is final, that relationships we thought were over can be reignited and that we can move past the mistakes that we make, to make more, different mistakes while we continue to find our way. 

Images: Featured image by Emily Rudolph on Unsplash. Body image credited within caption.

The Big Pitch: Pursuing My Passion

By Sola Adesulu (Ferzona) – If you don’t know what The Big Pitch Competition is, let me introduce you to it. The Big Pitch is a 3-stage business competition organised by Anglia Ruskin…

By Sola Adesulu (Ferzona)

Ferzona has entered the ARU Big Pitch competition this year and is pitching Ferzona Events as an idea; Click Here to watch the video pitch and vote!

Introduction: What is The Big Pitch?

If you don’t know what The Big Pitch Competition is, let me introduce you to it. The Big Pitch is a 3-stage business competition organised by Anglia Ruskin University and it encourages students with entrepreneurial ideas (business, social enterprise, charity, anything) to come forward and pitch these ideas for a chance to win from a pot of £10,000. The money won will go into developing your idea further, giving you an advantage and an opportunity to go into the world and do exactly what you want to do – to pursue your passion.

The Article

I probably gave the most basic intro to The Big Pitch in the above paragraph. It is much more than that. Once you take part in the competition, you will be introduced to AREA – Anglia Ruskin Enterprise Academy. This is where the fun starts, you will have access to business mentors and start up lectures and networking meetings and countless programmes that will help and assist you in developing your idea and potentially turning this idea into a business. The remainder of this article will share my journey through my very first ever Big Pitch Competition and give reasons why I think you should take part in The ARU Big Pitch and similar competitions if you’re a wanna-be entrepreneur.

2018

As this is over 3 years ago, I’m not sure if I can fully remember everything that happened before and how I got introduced to the Big Pitch. I will write about the thrill of entering and progressing through it. 

I have always had a passion of running a business of my own – I had read books, watched documentaries, listened to interviews, etc of all the greatest businessmen I knew existed. The world of business was nothing but a fascination and fantasy to me – something I knew that I wanted to be a part of, but thought was too esoteric for me to partake in. But all of this perception was slowly fading away in real time. I suddenly found myself all around the Cambridge campus, (I was in my second year of studies) speaking to everybody and everyone asking them to vote on a video I had made just a few days earlier and uploaded to The Big Pitch site. Could this be the platform that launches me into the world of big business (a world that draws me in with fascination) and gives me the opportunity to rub shoulders with industry giants? I mean what do I stand to lose? I was passionate about running a business and the idea I was pitching was one of the hobbies I had picked up since I was a child – electronics teardown and repairs (Ferzona Mobile Repair). I remember the excitement with which I spoke to everyone who I asked to vote for me – “I have to win this” I told them. Many of them were confused because they were my friends, and they knew I was studying law at the time. “But you’re a lawyer” they said, “why meddle in electronics?” I nodded in agreement, “yes I am, but this: electronics and entrepreneurship, is where my passion lies.” Many of them accepted my explanation with bewilderment, some with reluctance. They all voted for me though and for that I remain thankful. I spoke to over 300 people asking them to vote during the course of the first stage of the competition. Slowly I was building an audience on Instagram of people curious and interested in what I was doing. (Plot twist: Many of these guys that said ‘why do it’ in the beginning ended up becoming frequent customers of the business after I was able to set it up. This is another reason why I believe that you shouldn’t quit in the face of opposition – You never know what value your idea is bringing into the world. Even your oppositions might benefit from the success of your idea – keep going!)

I ended up getting through to the second stage of the competition and my excitement tripled. This had become a movie, much more than reality to me. It was like in one of the many business shows I had watched. We were taken to a two-day business retreat (The BootCamp) at a fancy hotel and conference centre within Cambridge. There was food and drinks, networking and banter, workshops and presentations. It was surreal. If there is no other reason why you want to enter The Big Pitch, I think the experience of the boot camp should be a reason for you to try. 

We learnt a lot about running a business from experts in their industries to learning about ourselves through different workshops and activities. We made friends and built connections with fellow business-minded students within ARU. We joked, laughed, ate, drank and told stories all the way into the night. It was fun! Many of the people I met at the boot camp still remain very good friends of mine till today. With some I have worked together on exciting projects.  

The boot camp ended up with us having to go away and prepare a pitch to qualify for the third and final round using the techniques and skills we had learnt during the boot camp. It was another marathon. Now we had to go develop financial forecasts, conduct market research, figure out the competition in the market and differentiate our service offerings using unique selling points. It was new stuff, but we all stayed hopeful and confident in the skills we were taught at the camp. I did not qualify for the final round where the pitch was going to be for the money, but everybody was invited to the grand finale at the ARU Cambridge campus to watch the finalists and have a grand get-together celebration. Everyone dressed to impress, the winners were awarded, pictures were taken, and everybody left with smiles on their faces. It was a good day.

My Latest Pitch!

Entering The Big Pitch gave me extraordinary confidence and made me take a leap of faith to pursue something that I had always wanted to do – something I was passionate about. It also gave me a cushion to lessen the impact of going it alone which, no doubt, would have been scary and was the reason for my hesitation all these years. It made me new friends, gave me an experience of a lifetime and helped me develop the business of my dreams. A healthy mobile phone repair business!

Now my business idea has changed. I am once again relying on the cushion, confidence and adrenaline rush The Big Pitch has to offer to kick start this idea in the right direction and grow it into the business I know it can become. For that I need your help. 

Kindly vote by liking the video in the link below; it helps me proceed to the second stage of the competition and hopefully win this time. And if you are thinking of taking part in this year’s competition, let this be your prompt: Just Do It!

CLICK HERE to vote Ferzona on Events.

Love,

The Ferzona Group

Images: Featured image by William Iven on Unsplash.

Haniya for HEMS! – SU Election 2021

By Haniya Syed – Greetings fellow students! I am Haniya Syed, I am an MSc Public Health student at ARU Cambridge. I am also the course-rep for my course and sub-editor for…

By Haniya Syed

Greetings fellow students!

I am Haniya Syed, I am an MSc Public Health student at ARU Cambridge. I am also the course-rep for my course. For the two months, I was at the uni (COVID right?) I did as much as I could and I enjoyed it. I became the course-rep to address the problems my cohort were having in reference to their academics and it was seen through. During the time I was associated with the course as a rep and as a student, I’ve come across some issues that need to be addressed for the betterment of the students and the university. That is the reason I have decided to run for the VP HEMS. Since HEMS is my faculty and I am more familiar with the workings of the department, I think I am a very good candidate for HEMS and for the students of the university. So! here is a summary of my plan for the faculty of HEMS, otherwise known as the election manifesto.

I have spent most of my course in online classes so believe me I know the situation at hand and these are the main things I would like to improve:

1. Accountability and Transparency :

The faculty has to be brought to account in case students face any sort of issue with the course or any member of the staff in particular. I will provide my full support and make your problem mine. If a student wants to give anonymous feedback, I will respect it and I will be the voice. No student should feel under pressure or stress out because they can’t voice their concern. The university will be transparent with its decisions and accountable to any questions asked by the students. Faculty and student forums to be encouraged and made more public for more participation. 

2. Improved research and innovation opportunities: 

HEMS includes doctors, nurses and scientists; health professionals and social care professionals who work for the healthcare of society and should thus be up to date with the latest research and innovative technology which I would strongly endorse. To bring more research opportunities into the university would not only benefit the students but also would raise ARU as a pioneering research institute. More exposure to modern technological innovations in the field of medicine and healthcare including artificial intelligence would be a major step towards excellence of the students and the university.

3. Prioritising and addressing mental health concerns:

My priority is to reduce the factors affecting the mental health of the students. Providing support for mental health concerns is always there, but I would like to reduce the chances of students getting stressed academically and by university factors. Addressing student concerns and signposting them to the right person can reduce mental health concerns by a margin and I pledge to do everything in my power to make the university experience less stressful.

4.  More financial support, increased temp job opportunities and scholarships:

More financial support and funds to make finance less difficult. Making students aware of the employability options provided by the university and increasing scholarship options.

5. “Meet the heroes”: 

During the current pandemic crises, we saw a lot of people rise above and beyond to protect the country from this dreadful situation. More interaction with the allied health professionals, public health specialists, medical officers, scientists, who made everything that is today, possible. The students can benefit a great deal from their experience and head towards a better future.

6. Tutoring; student-student or student-teacher:

The students in HEMS are not only students but nurses and carers with jobs and of a wide age spectrum. Sometimes these students need a bit of an extra nudge to stay up to date with the studies and the digital technology used for teaching. A session with a fellow student who would volunteer or a student-teacher session can be arranged and set up. Students and faculty can sign up for the programme and can work around the student’s schedule. 

7. “Support system”

Accommodation, food, travel, university issues, study skills, canvas, online lectures, assignments or just a friendly ear, I am here to help in any way I can, particularly for the international students who are away from home and need a friend. University can be a difficult time but hey! THE SUPPORT IS HERE!!

8. Equality:

Bullying, harassment, abuse of any kind or discrimination on the basis of race, colour, gender, nationality or unfair treatment will not be tolerated and the students can come to me with any problem or if they feel discriminated against. There is no place for such things in the university and I will personally handle such issues and it will be sorted regardless of whether the person in question is a student or a member of faculty. My idea is to turn the university into a place of equal opportunities and well, a fun place to study.

9. Sustainibility: 

I would do my part in making the campus more sustainable and plastic free. I will also organise more community-based projects to endorse the same.

As Margaret Thatcher once said ” you turn if you want to. The lady’s not for turning”. So vote for me, Haniya Syed, for the vice-president of HEMS and give your thought a voice. Together we can reform HEMS and the university.

See you on the other side 🙂

Images: Element5 on Unsplash and Haniya Syed.

Dipanshu for VP of Science and Engineering! – SU Election 2021

By Dipanshu Kant – Hii.. I’m Dipanshu Kant.. Current candidate for vice president (science & engineering).. I’m a postgrad clinical psychology student…

By Dipanshu Kant

Hii.. I’m Dipanshu Kant.. Current candidate for vice president (science & engineering).. I’m a postgrad clinical psychology student..

I was born and brought up in Delhi, India and have been living in Cambridge for more than a year now.. I was involved in various committees during my undergrad in India and have worked for 2 years as an assistant psychologist in clincal setting in my home country… So you can be rest assured if I say reducing stigma surrounding mental health will be my foremost priority.. These days (especially after covid) there has been a lot of buzz over mental health which has led to many people coming forward to tackle these issues, even those who dont have enough knowledge on this topic.. If I get selected, I’ll try to work from ground up such as by setting up an anonymous student advisor committee.. So I kindly request you to not vote for me if you dont consider me as the right candidate and my manifesto doesnt seem engaging.. I have only included those points in my manifesto which I consider will be achievable for me if I become the Vice President.. Here are some of the other things which I’ll try to accomplish:-

  • Night time food/food stalls managed by students
  • Dealing with graduate depression
  • Freshers week for sept 2020 and January 2021 students
  • Worship place in the university
  • Anonymous student advisor committee
  • Sustainability & Transparency

Images: Element5 on Unsplash and Dipanshu Kant.

Kamlesh for VP of Business and Law – SU Election 2021

By Kamlesh Bhoopal – Hi, I’m Kamlesh Bhoopal and I’m passionate, driven, determined, proactive and approachable, these are all the types of traits you would expect a candidate to say…

By Kamlesh Bhoopal

Hi, I’m Kamlesh Bhoopal and I’m passionate, driven, determined, proactive and approachable, these are all the types of traits you would expect a candidate to say when running in an election? Although this does not tell you why I am running for the role of Vice President(Business & Law). Our Student Union is brilliant in so many ways, but I believe it can be even better. A fresh approach that offers new solutions to our problems, and I’m confident that I can provide this with your support from this election.

WHO AM I?

Currently pursuing my MBA at ARU Cambridge,UK. I am from Bangalore, the silicon city of India where IT and startups have had its greatest boom in the last decade and counting. Having completed my bachelors in Computer Science Engineering I have had real world experience by attending and volunteering in Business/Technical events(Hackathons, Ted Talks, etc…) with a wider business perspective. My curiosity to understand Business at this level grew within. This drove me to pursue an MBA at ARU. After interning within the University for my placement as ’Business Development Coordinator’ for the Faculty of Business and Law, having worked closely with the Student Engagement Teams to ensure students employability for work placement i feel confident with voicing the students on how ARU as an organisation works towards fulfilling students needs. 

I’M HERE TO WORK WITH YOU.

There couldn’t be a Students’ Union without students, so it is essential that your voice and your opinions are at the heart of what the SU does. My passion for ensuring every voice is heard comes from a belief that everything can be improved. If you raise an issue, I will guarantee that it will be listened to and acted upon in the most reliable and helpful manner. 

I’d love to be your Student Union Vice President for Business and Law this year as I want to continue representing the students and make sure that your voice is heard and the overall student experience continues to improve year on year. 

I know that I’ve had an amazing experience here at ARU and want students to be able to have a great experience here as well. Having actively worked within the university and throughout the university to improve the standard of personal tutoring, and currently student employability, I have a strong insight into what needs to be done to enhance student life at ARU. 


WHAT I WILL DO FOR YOU.

Bringing Campus Together – 

  • Give you more community mixed campus events.(TOPICS – Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Cryptocurrency and more depending on your feedback.)
  • Have a proper Refreshers week. It is easy to miss the boat the first time around with so many things to take in, all the fairs and opportunities available the first time around should be available the second time around.

Incubation Center –

  • Adapt incubation stages in order to classify startups and ideas according to progress.
  • Increase volunteer opportunities to enhance real world capabilities.
  • Creating an Investors’ club for external funding opportunities.
  • Build a strong network of creative and strong individuals who can contribute building towards success.
  • Awards and Recognition to those students with outstanding contribution.
  • Bringing students from all courses to work as one on selected projects(I am a Business student with a Computer Science background and I can tell you more about the benefits of this in the near future).

Transparency and Democracy – 

  • Feedback boxes made available around SU building and online questioning space on the SU official website.
  • Regular polling of trending students’ opinions. Instead of assuming we know what the student body thinks – let’s ask! This could easily be done online (surveys) or via email.

Beyond the Bubble

  • Creating a student ballot for monthly engagement of events and feedback.
  • Organising online events and webinars regarding support during the pandemic.
  • Intercampus activities (Picked from Student Ballot).
  • Online Student Engagement with Industry level experts on trending topics.

 According to Harvey Firestone ‘the growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership’. Your growth and development as a student is dependent on your Education and Welfare. I am determined to ensure your growth and development as a student by ensuring that issues relating to your academic interests and welfare are dealt with timeously, efficiently and effectively.

Vote KAMLESH BHOOPAL for Vice President (Business and Law).

As always, please accept the assurances of my highest regards and consideration.

Looking forward to serving you.

Best regards,

Kamlesh Bhoopal.

Images: Element5 on Unsplash and Kamlesh Bhoopal.

‘My disabled body isn’t why I’m disabled’ – SU Election 2021

By Tiegan-Leigh Everitt – What if disability was less physical, and more of a social issue? We can currently view disability as a problem within someone’s body, and their disadvantages only exist within the scope…

By Tiegan-Leigh EverittDisability Representative Candidate (Cambridge Campus)

Disclaimer: This article has not been edited by The Ruskin Journal. The Journal will publish similar submissions from other election candidates that want to get involved. These posts show no bias – the opportunity to post a manifesto with us is open, and has been advertised too, all candidates.

What if disability was less physical, and more of a social issue?

We can currently view disability as a problem within someone’s body, and their disadvantages only exist within the scope of themselves, therefore they must seek treatment to get as close as they can to function like the average person (however defining what this is, is a conversation within itself). This puts a huge weight on the shoulders of disabled people – we are constantly trying to fit the standards of people who are able bodied and neurotypical, and go against the natural functions of our bodies and minds. 

This is somewhat depressing and seems like life will always be an ever increasing uphill climb (hopefully one with wheelchair access) for people with disabilities, the end goal being to emulate something unnatural to us. The good news is, by simply switching the way we perceive disability, life as a disabled person becomes a lot more hopeful.

Disability does not exist in a vacuum. It is directly impacted by the society around us. For example, the ability to function like an able bodied person is much easier to achieve for deaf people when there are subtitles and sign language interpreters present at events and lectures. When these accommodations are implemented, suddenly the deaf person becomes a lot ‘less’ disabled, despite their deafness not changing at all. This is an example of the social model of disability.

Here is perhaps the most easy to understand analogy of this model that I have come across. Imagine that one day, everybody on earth, except you, gains the ability to fly. You are not disabled, despite this, everything is as normal, you can walk to the shops, go to work, and participate in everything society has to offer, as nothing in society has changed. You physically cannot do what everyone else can do, yet you are not considered disabled. However, a while down the line, shopping centres are built into the sky, your workplace moves to a building high in the clouds, that can only be reached by flying, most entertainment venues are up too high and you simply cannot reach them. Now, you are considered disabled. It is near enough impossible for you to work, shop and do anything you would usually do. You have not changed at all, but society did, and those societal changes made you diabled. 

As an autistic woman, most of the time I do not feel too different from my neurotypical peers. However, when there are overwhelming sensory situations, or when I am in social situations with people that cannot accept my autistic traits and I have to mask them, suddenly I feel out of place, and disabled. In my case, if sensory accommodations such as noise cancelling headphones were seen as normal and were easily accessible, and if the people around me were able to understand and accept my autistic traits as natural rather than weird, I wouldn’t be so ‘disabled’, despite me not changing at all.

If our society was more accommodating, if subtitles and audio descriptions were required, if autism traits were portrayed as normal in media, if wheelchair ramps were commonplace and if therapy was easily accessible and affordable, we would find that these conditions that render us ‘disabled’ in our society become less of a hindrance and more of a natural human variation. 

University can be a difficult place for disabled students of all abilities, and if ARU was to adopt this mindset that the setbacks of disability are more social and societal than an inherent flaw in the diabled individual, we could make a campus where everyone has an equal chance to succeed in their education, and equality and inclusivity become the standard, rather than a luxury.

In my campaign for disabled students rep, this is a mindset I would aim to help the whole student union adopt, and prioritise creating a safe, inclusive campus that champions accessibility, helping every student embrace their unique abilities, rather than be held back by them.

To make change at ARU, taking part in democracy is a must! Don’t forget to vote from the 6th of march for the candidate that will best uplift and support your community, so we can all get the very best from our university experience.

Check out @tieganleigharu for more disability advocacy content at ARU, and vote Tiegan-Leigh Everitt for disabled students rep if my campaign values align with your own.

Image: Element5 on Unsplash.

‘It’s okay not to be okay’ – SU Election 2021

By Maddison Taylor – If you are struggling with your mental health, you are not alone. Did you know that 1 in 5 students suffers with their mental health? Or that 33% of students…

By Maddison Taylor– Mental Health Rep Candidate (Chelmsford Campus)

Disclaimer: This article has not been edited by The Ruskin Journal. The Journal will publish similar submissions from other election candidates that want to get involved. These posts show no bias – the opportunity to post a manifesto with us is open, and has been advertised too, all candidates.

If you are struggling with your mental health, you are not alone. Did you know that 1 in 5 students suffers with their mental health? Or that 33% of students often or always feel lonely1. It is important to recognise that we all have a mental health. By definition, mental health is a person’s cognitive, behavioural, and emotional well-being2. Perhaps you are thinking but why does this matter to me? It matters as we all experience emotions. By developing a greater understanding of our emotions, we can better cope when life throws a curveball at us. Focusing on your mental wellbeing is as important as your physical wellbeing. It is fundamental that there are more safe and open forums for students to discuss how they are feeling and feel comfortable to do so without negative consequence. 

I am Maddison and I hope to be your first ever Mental Health Rep at ARU’s Chelmsford campus. My aim is to guide students to making subtle but positive changes to support their mental health and support other students’ wellbeing. Small changes can be so effective, I hope to share some wisdom from my experience of cognitive and dialectal behavioural therapy.

I am aware that some of the biggest challenges which impact student’s mental health include: relationships, body image, substance abuse, loneliness, anxiety and social media. I would like to tackle some of these concerns by implementing training for students to improve our resilience, coping skills and address a healthy work-life balance. There is an awful lot of stigma attached to mental illness and through more open discussion and education, these misconceptions can be addressed. If you would like to hear more from me and discuss how you can help make changes too, please reach out. I am always happy to have a chat and can ensure you confidentiality and lack of judgement are two of my moral principles when it comes to mental health discussion.

Feel free to follow my campaign on Instagram. My direct messages are open.

Voting opens Saturday 06 March at 09.00am. You can vote by visiting www.angliastudent.com/vote

Source:
https://freshstudentliving.co.uk/2020/04/01/university-student-mental-health-uk/ 

2 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/154543

Images: Element5 on Unsplash and Maddison Taylor

‘ARU Mental Health Rep’ – SU Election 2021

By Alina Clarke – Hiya everyone! My name is Alina clarke and I would love to be the Cambridge mental health rep. I am currently studying biomedical science In my first year at…

By Alina ClarkeMental Health Rep Candidate (Cambridge Campus)

Hiya everyone! My name is Alina clarke and I would love to be the Cambridge mental health rep. I am currently studying biomedical science In my first year at university and would love to be more involved in the community. During my time at sixth form I was also mental health rep for my school, I really enjoyed this job as it felt great to be voicing the problems and stigmas around mental health and how we can best help each other in understanding mental health better. I myself have had my own mental health struggles so I understand how very easily mental health can be misunderstood but I believe it is crucial for us all to be given a chance to be heard. 

I also think this would be a great role for me as it would help boost my confidence and get more involved in ARU, I’d love to try and improve my weaker spots and I feel this would be something I’d be passionate about and really get involved in.

overall I wish to give a better experience at ARU for the students and also provide a voice for us. Wether this is a support group or information hub or fundraisers, I want the student voice as involved as possible so that everyone feels apart of the community.

I hope everyone has a great academic year ,

A x

Image: Element5 on Unsplash and Alina Clarke

‘100 Years of Silence’ – Poetry

By Ciéra Cree – plagued by her thoughts; an unfamiliar voice /
utters words of depreciation /
that permeate the silence…

By Ciéra Cree

In commemoration of ‘International Women’s Day’ 2021.

Disclaimer: This piece is not published with the intent of pushing any personal agenda.

plagued by her thoughts; an unfamiliar voice
utters words of depreciation
that permeate the silence
 
the depths of her mind etched out
in a cross of grey
smudging her opinion
& craftily painted lips
colour staining porcelain skin
is she worth more than this?
 
she holds a touch that’s feather-light
& sleek as a ballroom floor
a symbol of fragility
encased in a false serenity
 
adorning her heart on her sleeve
as she paces relentless streets
filled with dark corners &
societal mourners grouped in an
atypical fleet
 
protest leaks from the edges
of delicately pencilled eyes
fluttering from the lashes of
an unbound compromise

why should women have to disguise
& present themselves with a mask,
to be a walking “pop of colour” 
with a mind kept
sheltered in the dark?
 
one hundred years of silence
& a proudly retained composure
held together with a smile & the promise
of change creeping ever closer
 
she isn’t just an object
which is easy on the eye
she’s not merely a victim
failed by a system
that doesn’t try
 
to mediate opinion
& value individual worth
 
for this girl is wholly human
& that’s what should be put first

Image: Marina Khrapova on Unsplash

‘Elect Vignesh Periyasamy for Vice President of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences’ – SU Election 2021

By Vignesh Periyasamy – I am VP (Vignesh Periyasamy) running for VP (Vice President) at AHSS Faculty in the student election this year, 2021. I am currently doing my Masters degree at…

By Vignesh Periyasamy – Candidate for VP of AHSS (Cambridge Campus)

Disclaimer: This article has not been edited by The Ruskin Journal. The Journal will publish similar submissions from other election candidates that want to get involved. These posts show no bias – the opportunity to post a manifesto with us is open, and has been advertised too, all candidates.

Hi students, 

I am VP (Vignesh Periyasamy) running for VP (Vice President) at AHSS Faculty in the  student election this year, 2021. I am currently doing my Masters degree at Anglia Ruskin  University, Cambridge campus.  

About me: 

I try to pursue excellence in everything I do. My university friends know that I always  lend hand when needed irrespective of the faculty, ethnicity and etc…  

I am an extroverted person and am interacting with a load of students on a daily basis  and resolving their issues. I can’t be certain about the number of students I have helped in  terms of accommodation, travel and other university related works. That being said, when I  am helping students even before becoming the VP, think about how much I can help once I  become the face of the faculty and make the right decision.

I will work on, 

1. Increasing Full-time employment opportunities 

• My ideas to make this effective are as follows, 

• Connecting with alumni of the faculty you belong to. 

• Persuading their employers to visit our campus on a yearly basis. 

• Trying to create agreement with potential employers to recruit students  yearly. 

• Conducting LinkedIn workshop for students (Real time growth hacking  workshops for FREE). 

• Creating awareness on ATS (Applicant Tracking System). 

2. Implementing technical support for the faculty and for every ARU student • I have planned to create a platform that gives access to all of the platforms. • The above-mentioned point totally eliminates navigation between multiple  

platforms. Hence, reduces the worry of having to navigate between multiple  platforms. 

• Lobbying to make the timetables available earlier in the trimester.

3. 24/7 Support to Home and International students 

• This continuous lockdown made it tougher for every student including me. • Every student struggle to find the proper accommodation and find it difficult  to travel abroad from home country. 

• I will be creating an online platform and a physical space to drop your queries  irrespective of the faculty. 

• The online platform and physical space will have students responding to your  query at any given point of time. 

• This can be utilized by any faculty and priority will be given based on the  severity of the query raised. 

Voting starts March 6 (09:00 AM) – March 12 (02:00 PM). 

Go to ARU Student’s Union website and cast your vote. 

Connect with me on, 

Instagram: Click me! 

Facebook : Click me! 

Twitter : Click me! 

LinkedIn : Click me!

Vote for me: HERE!

Image: Element5 on Unsplash and Vignesh Periyasamy

‘Shubham for Disability Rep!’ – SU Election 2021

By Shubham Singh As you all know me, I am Shubham Singh, I am studying in 2nd year B Eng, In my first impression I would like you to start again with, from my father spoke to me…

By Shubham SinghDisability Representative Candidate (Cambridge Campus)

Disclaimer: This article has not been edited by The Ruskin Journal. The Journal will publish similar submissions from other election candidates that want to get involved. These posts show no bias – the opportunity to post a manifesto with us is open, and has been advertised too, all candidates.

As you all know me, I am Shubham Singh, I am studying in 2nd year B Eng, In my first impression I would like you to start again with, from my father spoke to me that sticks with me for a long time “Don’t let your disability stop your success, make your disability as your strength”. I hope I will be running to be your next Students with Disabilities Officer. For Context, I have a hearing impairment with 100% deafness by birth. I don’t let this break my spirit no matter what. 

However, Despite this range, I am very much aware of the broad of disability, which many of them I have experience dealing with it. My own experiences alone are not enough to adequately represent the range of disabilities students at ARU will have, because of the new country that I am representing for the second time and first time for NUS, which is why I will first of all endeavor to hold feedback sessions and drop-ins a couple of times a month in order to find out if there are any issues which need addressing that I am not aware of. As usual, I would operate in conjunction with the needs of the students I represent, hence why engagement will be one of the priorities for me. Following on from that, I also intend to use my communications and marketing experience from previous society positions back in my home country and working in student media to ensure that my work, campaigns, and assistance is advertised to as many of the disabled student population as possible and hopefully Some of them will work/help me to ensure everything is fine.

Thank you for reading my manifesto, and please vote for Shubham Singh.

Image: Element5 on Unsplash.

‘Re-Elect Fatima for VP of AHSS!’ – SU Election 2021

By Fatima Lakhani – I am super active on Instagram and if you cannot make your mind up about me as a candidate please check out my Instagram page @re_electfatima and find out…

By Fatima LakhaniCandidate for VP of AHSS (Cambridge Campus)

Disclaimer: This article has not been edited by The Ruskin Journal. The Journal will publish similar submissions from other election candidates that want to get involved. These posts show no bias – the opportunity to post a manifesto with us is open, and has been advertised too, all candidates.

I am super active on Instagram and if you cannot make your mind up about me as a candidate please check out my Instagram page @re_electfatima and find out what other students have to say about me as VP AHSS!

This year I am in a slate with Omkar and Em Long. Having worked with them has been amazing and they are truly in support and sincere about their work for students. So please do support them!

Images: Element5 on Unsplash, Fatima Lakhani, Omkar Singh and Emily Long

‘Ciéra Cree for AHSS Faculty Rep’ – SU Election 2021

By Ciéra Cree – I campaigned for this position in last year’s Student Election and it was an invaluable experience. It taught me a lot about what it means to put yourself…

By Ciéra Cree – AHSS Faculty Representative Candidate (Cambridge Campus)

Disclaimer: This article has not been edited by The Ruskin Journal. The Journal will publish similar submissions from other election candidates that want to get involved. These posts show no bias – the opportunity to post a manifesto with us is open, and has been advertised too, all candidates.

Arts, Humanities and the Social Sciences are important, intelligent and beautiful areas of study. I am running for the position of AHSS Faculty Representative because of my genuine passion for these areas, as well as my passion for the experience of others in our university.

Ciéra Cree and the launch photo of the 2019-20 Ruskin Journal annual.

I may often be quietly spoken but I’m a person with a loud mind filled with ideas and a great love for creativity. As a person who dabbles in many things that work collaboratively with Media Studies (my chosen course), such as photography, article work and creative writing, I feel I am a good candidate to represent the collective student voice for this broad sector.

It’s vital that we all have the opportunity and comfortability to express how we feel about our courses and class atmosphere, and it would be my aim as a representative to ensure not only that people are able to do just this, but also that areas highlighted for improvement or consideration are brought to the attention of those appropriate.

I campaigned for this position in last year’s Student Election and it was an invaluable experience. It taught me a lot about what it means to put yourself forward as a leader and the importance of properly selling yourself to an audience.

Looking back upon last year, I feel that I should have sold myself better. I am 20 years old and, for a 20 year old, I feel that I have pretty extensive experience in many AHSS areas. I have experience with The National Centre for Writing and spent a year with them under mentoring as a Poet Laureate. During that year I got involved with many things such as commission work, performing and even teaching. I am published in an Australian Poetry Anthology, among many other places, and would be able to provide students who wish with information about the first steps to submitting their artworks and writing to magazines, zines and online platforms. I have also been highly commended by The Royal Society of Literature, have worked with the Young Norfolk Arts group and am a member of the Young Artists In Suffolk Collective.

If you’re interested in radio I have spent two years at university studying radio modules and have spoken on BBC Radio Norfolk in the past. If you’re interested in journalism I have been writing articles for 2 years and have spent the last year and a half running The Ruskin Journal. If you’re interested in blogging, video work or work in regards to social media, I currently work two part-time jobs in these areas. One job involves student life blogs and the other entails the production of content for a social media marketing team. I spent many years studying and enjoying Philosophy, too, and I also took on Sociology as an A-Level at college. Let’s start some conversations and think about networking!

Upon leaving college with an Excellence In Media Award I didn’t know where to go, but deciding to join ARU is one of the best decisions that I have ever made. I’ve been doing my best to show gratitude and give back – be that in the form of spending a year as a Course Rep or through volunteering for over 430 collective hours with the Student’s Union so far – but I want to do more.

I know that I would do my best in representing you, and I know that I would work hard to ensure that your voices are heard. I will not let you down.

Images: Element5 on Unsplash and Ciéra Cree

‘Re-Elect Omkar for VP of Business & Law’ – SU Election 2021

By Omkar Singh – Hello! I’m Omkar, current Vice President at ARU Students’ Union. I’m re-running for VP business and law in this SU elections 2021. I’m so thankful to all the students who trusted me and elected me as their VP…

By Omkar SinghCandidate for VP of Business & Law (Cambridge Campus)

Disclaimer: This article has not been edited by The Ruskin Journal. The Journal will publish similar submissions from other election candidates that want to get involved. These posts show no bias – the opportunity to post a manifesto with us is open, and has been advertised too, all candidates.

Hello! I’m Omkar, current Vice President at ARU Students’ Union. I’m re-running for VP business and law in this SU elections 2021.

I’m so thankful to all the students who trusted me and elected me as their VP. Since start of my term, I have been working on certain projects which were successful & few others which I would like to accomplish in my next term

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  1. Incubation centre project: 

I started this campaign in August 2020 with a main motive to boost start-ups and create entrepreneurial ambience on campus. This incubation centre is a physical space in the university where like-minded people come together and network. In other words, this space will bring students from all the discipline & companies, under one roof. I’m happy to share that this project is already got a massive win, and finally accepted by ARU to move forward. This wouldn’t have been possible without all your support and efforts. 

If re-elected: If I’m re-elected, I shall make sure that I’m continuously working on this project and bring incubation centre on campus. This centre is going to change the life of students on campus  

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  1. Lockdown series:

During second national lockdown, I have created a series of 30 videos to bring awareness on mental health and its importance. The 30 speakers were ranged from members of parliament Cambridge, Chelmsford, vice chancellors to students. This series was well received by students and university all together. I have also done sufficient research in the university to understand all the resources available within, I have always signposted students to the right place. I’m also representing ARU at Citizens UK, to make mental health a priority in the upcoming Council elections.

If re-elected:

Mental health and well-being among students is always being my priority, I would like to enhance support to students by reducing the appointment gap and increase peer-peer support. I’m also keenly looking into adding this as topic of discussion in the curriculum through Ruskin modules.

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  1. Employment opportunities: I have created placements in the faculty, 5 of the students are working directly with me on the incubation centre project. Students from both the campuses were selected in their placement year. I have also hosted employment session to develop student CVs and provide resources available, called “Employment team with Omkar Singh”

If Re-Elected: Creating placements and employment will be my priority for the next year too, I would like to create more employment in the faculty by internal placements and via incubation centre networking options.

  1. Assignment support: I have been working on campaign to support students with their assignments whilst bringing awareness on academic integrity. I have hosted a session with study skills plus to signpost students to the right support. I have been also closely working with union advice team and the university’s director of studies to keep supporting students in every possible manner. 

If Re-elected: I shall keep supporting students and bring campaign on importance of academic integrity, plagiarism.  

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Multi-faith space: 

Last year I lobbied for prayer spaces/ multi faith space on the campuses. I accomplished this campaigns by getting a commitment letter from the university. Already plans for Chelmsford campus is started and there is a long term plan for Cambridge campus to have permanent space and Peterborough plans are also in place

If Re-elected: I shall make sure that multi- faith space is delivered on all the campuses and all religions are celebrated by hosting #DiverseARU events and other activities. 

I’m very much excited for next year’s role, I have already made changes and I need one last term to implement all those.

Do vote and support me, your vote matters.

Link to vote : http://www.angliastudent.com/voteforomkar 

I’m re-running with amazing team Em Long for President and Fatima Lakhani for VP AHSS. Do read their manifestos on the SU website

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Images: Element5 on Unsplash and Omkar Singh