Gemma: How much experience is good to have already in relation to the positions?Aisling: I think it helps to have experience working in a team, and particularly for the President position it is advisable to have some experience in leadership. However, having specific PSA experience is not essential - the first Connect I went to was the Connect at which I was elected to this position!
G: If you do end up in a position is there a period of hand-over or do you just get thrown in the deep end?A:To be honest, handover will depend to some extent on the committee member. Some positions may get little handover, and others no longer have a member to handover from. I will be making the effort to try and meet with every new committee member though, at least once. The handover period is all of November, with the new committee officially commencing on the 1st of December 2012. I hope to ensure that no one is thrown in the deep end!
G: Do you think being on the PSA is worth it/rewarding?A: I have absolutely loved being part of the PSA this year. It is challenging at times, and you will always (in anything you do) have to deal with prickly personalities. But the experience you gain is definitely worth it. It will also be stressful leading up to events, as you finalise arrangements and cross your fingers that people will actually turn up - but the buzz when it all comes together is so rewarding!
A: Well, it depends what you mean by 'these kind of things'. I'd say having no experience in student politics is good, because that kind of thing can create some bad habits and ways of working! As I mentioned, I jumped into the President role with no previous experience of the PSA at all - and this informed what I wanted to do as President. So there are advantages. At the same time, previous experience with how committees work and deadlines etc can also be an advantage to understanding what to expect - but this can be learned. The best approach for you will depend on your personality and your other commitments. I think taking on a larger role can be very beneficial, becuase you simply have to learn more as part of your role. Taking on a more minor position may mean you only help coordinate one or two events.
G: Is it better, if you have little (to no) experience in these kind of things, to contemplate a minor position, then maybe once you know how things work better think about the more major positions?
G: At what point during your candiditure do you think having a position with the PSA works best?A: The standing advice from previous committees is that your second year is the best point at which to try your hand at PSA - you know the uni, your proposal is passed, and you still have a year and bit to finish up after your term. Again, it will depend on your personal situation. I see no reason someone 3-4 months in couldn't manage it, if they were keen.
I hope that this has answered any lingering questions you might have had! If you'd like to add to the list here, just email firstname.lastname@example.org
I wish Tony Jones was here.