What its like being First Year Rep

Hi, I am Sanskar Ranglani and I am the First Year Current Student Representative at the QMU.

I started University in September 2019 and I have had quite a journey in Glasgow. I am a Neuroscience and Psychology student and the First Year CSR at the Queen Margaret Union.

Umpteen people have asked me why did I choose the QMU over the plethora of unions/student bodies in the university and my answer has always been consistent. QMU has been very welcoming and sympathetic since the first day of Freshers week. I can never forget not being able to enter Colourfest one night because I was 17 and then the QMU Freshers helpers came and advised us to go to QMU that night, something that will be etched in my memory eternally. That was my introduction to the QMU, and as the Freshers week unfolded, I went to a myriad of the events they organised and it was an all-encompassing environment that I found here.

The second thing which drew my attention was the mental health campaign at the QMU. I was intrigued to explore more so I went to their meetings and found out about the amount of work that has been done and is being done which is marvellous but still needs a lot of input. I have had a terrible history with bad mental health so I was driven to get more involved in it, and as soon as I decided to enter, I realised it was just the tip of an iceberg. Back in my school days, I was always involved in organising events so I was driven to get more involved here as well, and then I got to know about the autumn by-elections. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to get involved more and decided to nominate myself- perhaps one of the best decisions I have made here.

My election agenda was focused on mental health and more international representation in the union. I was grateful that I got a place on the student board and could finally start working closely with the union only to realize that what I had seen was not even a tenth of what the union offered. The Campaigns and Charities Committee has been my second favourite committee after the Elephant in the Room and I am truly amazed by the quality and amount of work that it does for the welfare of people on the campus and outside. Whether it is celebrating diversity,or distributing free menstrual products, there is nothing that the committee does not touch upon. Perhaps the biggest takeaway from joining the union has been learning how to manage my degree along with several other activities. Not to forget that I have made uncountable number of friends through the QMU. Probably the best part of the union is how it doesn't put any pressure on anyone and how it's not obligatory to do anything. I can come here in my own time and get involved the way I want. I have also learned a lot about several issues I was not interested enough in before. The eclectic issues that QMU strives to overcome overlap with my personal interests.

If someone asks me again, why QMU, my answer would be simple. It is inclusive, diverse, sensitive and a safe place for me to be myself. It's not perfect, neither of the unions are, but it's unique in its own way and does everything possible to grow and change, and as it is said, change is inevitable but progression is a choice, I decided to be a part of a more progressive union and I aim to stay here for a long time to change things I feel need to be changed, get as involved as possible, and grow as much as I can.

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