This is going to be long- even by my standards. I have to say a lot of thank yous and those can’t go unsaid.
I don’t know where to start. Firstly, late thank you for the birthday wishes. Yes, the 24th June I turned 24! Yikesies.
I had a super special day and 24 is a lucky number in my world, so hoping it’ll be a lucky year. Right now I’m struggling to see how it can hold anything more than the one just passed – it’s been a beautiful one.
Yeah, this year has had it’s tough moments and I’ve been relatively open about some of those, but the goodness and positivity I’ve seen and felt on a daily basis, far outweighs the challenges! I learnt a lot. I cried a lot. But my heart smiled the most. I couldn’t ask for anything more.
City. City has become my world. It’s all that I really know and I’m lucky to feel part of it and proud of it too.
And this year especially, it’s been an absolute honour serving as President of City University London Students’ Union.
Towards the end as Vice President I was running back and forth on whether Presidency was something I wanted and something I was capable of- serving students on such a level.
In the midst of my mixed thoughts, late 2013, a sudden tragedy hit my family. I still remember trying advertise our “Winter Market” wearing Christmas hat whilst running to the Indian Visa centre trying to get an emergency visa and back again all in the same day. It was madness.
Anyway, once I flew to our home in India I spent a lot of time hiding in that VP Activities hoody. I recall visitors asking and one of my parents told them that “Vice President” was written on the hoody now but one day it’d read “President”. I remember it clear as day – in that moment they smiled through the suffering. Imagine that –that little bit of hope in such a hopeless situation. I didn’t have the time or energy to process it but when I returned to the UK in 2014, I realised the power in that moment and I wanted to harness it. So the decision was made: I had to give it a shot, I had to try and get that “President” hoody. And I did.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that on top of my reasons for running – the professional reasons, genuine desire to help CULSU and students, there was also the hope of healing and positivity- so thanks for all who have been part of that as it’s pretty special and I still remember the first time I took that hoody home – it felt like a good thing.
It was thanks to a set of beautiful people, my campaign team! You gave me energy and strength to fix-up and just give it my all. Thank you for inspiring me and helping me at what was such a difficult time. The unexpected friendships we created are unbreakable and I enjoyed every moment we spent on this – we had so much fun! Each of you have a very special place in my heart – what a journey! I’ll never forget that and the summer that followed- so many giggles!
Once elected, I had to reciprocate my gratitude to every student that voted for me and earn the trust of those who did not and be the best President I could. So to students, thank you for trusting me. I hope you know I gave my all to making things better. I’ll never forget the love you gave me – during various tough times you opened up to me and told me to ignore the hate. I remember you always kept me going. I kept your kind words close to my heart when I wanted to lash out and leave. Every conversation I had with you inspired me on a daily basis. And seeing you engage with CULSU through all the activities and doing amazing things for students – basically making City the place it is! And I remember on multiple occasions where I’ve dropped things or struggle carrying things from one place to another- random students would offer to help. I hope you know the union has your back – keep working with them! And to those moving on, I wish you all the success in the world – it’s not easy out in the big bad scary world, just stick with it, persevere and keep smiling!
The University – it’s a great place with good people with good hearts and I’ve been lucky to work closely with them this year. By the very nature of my role, we haven’t always seen eye to eye and our interests may at times differ but without a doubt they have always respected the student voice, listened and taken action. When I became President, I was strapped up, megaphone in hand, ready for a battle but I didn’t need to do that. As much as I wanted to be the University’s worst nightmare, and probably had it in me too, I consider myself lucky that I didn’t have to be. Because in fact, the way we worked was more powerful. I have also learned a great deal from people at City, and I’m so grateful for that. With sincerity I have so much respect for City – I wish them all the best for the future!
Colleagues at the Students’ Union have been so supportive. Working with me is far from easy – when I’m serious, I’m incredibly demanding and stubborn. And when I’m not serious, I’m super silly – throwing paper airplanes, jumping around shouting “Pikachu” etc. They not only put up with it, but support me too. Thank you for the support over the past two years – it has been so wonderful coming into work on Monday morning and seeing your smiley faces. I’ll never forget the things you’ve done for me – the times I came into the office so vexed, or worse upset or worst of all: moody! You always made it better. And helped me through my mistakes- even the ones I made when you warned me beforehand! Thank you for making the union great! And a big thank you to our union executive colleagues too (part-time officers), you have really driven the work of the union and this year would not be what is was without you.
Issy and Natalia, you girls have been incredible to work with over the year. I call you my baby sabblings but you looked after me more than I did to you. And you made me a better President than I could have been on my own. It’s true. All those heated debates- it just meant we all cared for students, a lot, and that means so much more than any frustration felt at the time. And when we saw the end point to each piece of work and the results, that feeling, I don’t know how to describe it. I’m so proud of you both- it’s been inspiring watching you achieve so much over the past year. I love you both so much and we’ve had so much fun! I look forward to having more fun with you. I could go on for hours, but I know you know what’s “in my heart” 🙂
Natalia- You’re so caring, loving and talented. I hope you are super proud of what you’ve achieved this year- it’s been incredible to watch. And in fact those previous years too- I hope you know you’re an inspiration to many students – including me!
Issy – I have so much confidence and faith in your leadership – you are incredible! Trust your instinct – I’ve seen the way you think and so often it’s right! You’ve got so much passion and I can’t wait to see what you do with CULSU.
Yusuf and Umar, you guys have such good hearts and with Issy, I have no doubt you will be a super strong team doing super amazing things for students! I hope you’re as excited as we all are for you. Eeeeks!! ☺
Family and friends, you should all know who you are. I owe you a super thank you for putting up with me, my absolute lack of communication etc. I know I’m an absolute nightmare but you’ve always supported! You know I love you though. Thank you to those uni friends who got me through the degree! Special thank you to my big sister and her husband – seeing you get married this year is undoubtedly the biggest thing that has happened in my entire life. I’m so inspired.
This message is getting long, but I guess it’s been a long journey. Whether you’ve been a student, family, campaign team member, a fellow sabbatical, predecesssors, successors, colleagues, university, classmates, friends, spectators, anyone, who’s been part of it thank you. This year has been emotional, and I’m lucky to be leaving with a lot of love in my heart for you all and some very special memories.
I got a lot of exciting things to do in this thing called life. And I’m sure you do too. I’m not President anymore, but hopefully a friend! It’s been a pleasure and I hope our paths cross someday soon!
Peace, love and thanks!