Learn working life skills through organisational activities24.10.2018

In people’s minds, being active in a student organisation delays your studies. This image is not entirely false, since some student actives are very engaged in their organisational activities, which can lead to their studies being delayed. I can admit that this scenery is familiar to me: without organisational activities, I would have graduated at least a year ago. However, organisational activities must be somewhat useful, because despite the delay in my graduation, I do not regret the choices I have made.

Event though organisational activities do take some time, it has many considerable benefits, especially for practical working life skills, not to mention the contacts created through association activities. Many university-level courses involve planning some sort of project, but the project will not be actually implemented. In organisational activities, in addition to scraping together a project plan, a student gets to actually carry out and lead the project. In TROL-local associations and other student organisations many people get to do tasks that only a few young, newly graduated BBA’s would get to do: to lead a small organisations, to be in charge of an event at best for thousands of people, to plan out the direction of an organisation etc. Although the activities of a local organization are very different from a traditional workplace, it does not remove the fact that in organizational activities the student learns to take responsibility in a truly unique way.


In organisational activities most tasks are done together. Because of this a student will be able to try different tasks from budgeting and lobbying to learning about meetings and improving her or his communication skills. That is why a student is able to learn a variety of new skills in student activism and it also pushes out of comfort zone. Co-operation skills also develop essentially in student-activities, since most of the things are done together student organisations' boards. Cooperation with multiple different student organisations is also close, so in the organisation field you learn to negotiate and get along with different interest groups. These encounters have developed my negotiation skills much more than any course regarding that topic.


Organisational activities also develop performance skill, organizing skills and coordination skills (coordination skills espeacially when it comes to managing your own time). I have acted as an event coordinator and a chairperson on a local level, in both of which I learned so much about the importance of planning and prioritizing: I can directly say that these lessons have been very useful in the workplace. Above all, it is truly great to see how strongly the board members commit to common goals and how much they are willing to do to achieve them. (If this isn’t a desirable feature in an employee, I don’t know what is.)

I could continue this list far beyond, but I believe the point of this blog post has become quite clear already. The board of a student organisation is a great opportunity to develop the skills needed in working life and to try out new things. It is also a safe place to sometimes fail and to learn from these mistakes: no one needs to be for example an experienced salesperson in order to become a member responsible of a local TROL-association. Why not spend your student time for your advantage and practise on your working life skills already in student organisations: you will hardly regret it.


Kaisu Hilska


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Regional responsibility: Vato, Trade, RLO Kilta, Pora