Introducing Rachel Quinn and Rhona Taylor! We had the pleasure of having a chat with the two royalties who happen to be the Presidents of Her Campus Aberdeen. This exclusive insight into their busy lives gave us a chance to get know how and why they got involved with Her Campus, as well as the opportunity to find out what they do when they aren’t running the greatest society at Aberdeen Uni (obviously no biased views here).
These two lovely ladies come from different parts of Scotland – Rach is from Dunfermline, Fife and Rhona from Seamill, North Ayrshire. Their partnership was born out of a mutual love for English which they both study at Aberdeen University, although Rachel is lucky enough to be studying for joint degree in politics as well.
It is well known that Rachel is super creative and excitable, but we all know that she can get carried away with her ideas, so Rhona is always there to bring her back to earth – they’re a perfect match! The chat we had with them showed that the gals are clearly passionate about Her Campus and what they have achieved. Here’s what they had to say:
HC: How did you know about Her Campus?
Rhona: I found out about Her Campus during summer 2013. A friend of a friend who was heavily involved in HC down south was looking for people to start up chapters at different Scottish Universities, including Aberdeen. So I just got in touch with her and started the application process. The application said ‘want to run your own magazine?’ and I thought that just sounded SO cool.
Rachel: I had known about Her Campus since 2012 because I have friends at university in America and it is a huge franchise over there. I was super excited when Rhona contacted me asking if I wanted to help run the society because it was definitely the kind of thing I was into – after all, the main colour of Her Campus is one of my favourites, pink!
HC: Can you tell us a bit about Her Campus?
Rhona: HC is an all female run, online student magazine. There are chapters all around the world but it began in the US, they have chapters at almost every University in the US you can think of. It offers girls the opportunity to write about what they love, find interesting or would want to share with their peers.
Rachel: The purpose of Her Campus is to provide a place for women to come to and succeed without having to compete against men. It is a place for female expression where we all generally have the same interests and values as each other. I feel that Her Campus allows women to learn from each other and, as I see it, become a bit of a “sisterhood”. There are six sections of the magazine which all the girls can get involved with to express themselves; blog, features, campus cutie, campus celeb, snap shot and events.
HC: Why did you want to bring Her Campus to Aberdeen Uni?
Rhona: When I joined the University I had never written for a school magazine or newspaper or anything like that so it wasn’t immediately on my radar to go and join a society like the Gaudi. The University has loads of amazing societies, but I always felt that there was a real gap in the market for a society that was open to anyone who wanted to join without having a specific skill, ideology or common goal in mind. We have so many different girls that have joined the society, and even interest from some guys! And I think that is because it is a laidback, pressure free society where you can write, within reason, whatever you like, learn to edit, plan events, and run social media, branding and promotion – there’s something for everyone! Most of all what it gives you is a diverse and friendly group of friends!
Rachel: One of the main reasons for introducing Her Campus to Aberdeen was that Rhona and I both have an interest in a career in journalism. We thought this would be a great way to build on our skills and create a magazine that we were 100% passionate about; we saw a real space for it at the University. Her Campus is unique to Aberdeen because there aren’t any other female run societies for just girls; it is a society which promotes female interests in a fun and friendly way.
HC: How did you girls (Rachel and Rhona) come together?
Rhona: When I first found out about HC I didn’t immediately think I could set up and run it because from standing with no experience it seemed really daunting. When I offered to write for the magazine, but not run it, the people at Her Campus told me that unless someone applied to run it there wouldn’t be anything for me to write for – which seemed like such a missed opportunity! So I got in touch with some friends to see if they would be interested in being involved if I did apply to set it up, and randomly messaged Rachel to see if she would be interested in running it with me. I didn’t really know her at the time but from what I knew of her it seemed totally her thing and I knew she’d be amazing at it –I wasn’t wrong! I have been incessantly messaging her ever since.
Rachel: Rhona asked me to help her set up the society last year (2013). We didn’t really know each other at the beginning – I mainly knew her from English tutorials and we have a lot of mutual friends. We decided to run it together because as it was a new society it would be better having each other for support and to bounce ideas off each other. Luckily, we get on really well and are so proud of what we have achieved!
HC: What are the best things about being the Presidents of Her Campus?
Rhona: Everything about being the President of Her Campus has been amazing; I have literally loved every minute. Ask any of my friends and family and they would tell you it’s all I talk about. Creating something that never existed before and watching other people get excited about it has been amazing. To think that something people love wouldn’t exist without all our hard efforts is so rewarding. I have also watched a lot of my friends and new girls I have met through this experience gain so much confidence in themselves. Watching them realise that people like their writing and what they have to say is important has been amazing and has made me so proud. And lastly the girls are the best part! Rachel and I would not be able to do it without all of your enthusiasm and I don’t think any of you even know how much it means to us, but it means the world.
Rachel: The best thing about Her Campus is that it has introduced me to lots of new friends. I knew some of the girls before but it has been so fun getting to know a whole range of girls who have come together to support Her Campus! I also love the fact that Rhona and I are running something that is successful and it appeals to everyone – we had no trouble getting people to join! I feel like Her Campus is my baby and I love watching it become more than a magazine, it’s a place where girls can come and meet new friends, discover a passion for events planning or uncover a secret talent for writing. It’s such a confidence boost to watch everyone work together and be proud of seeing their articles up online; that’s definitely the best part of it for me!
HC: What are the worst aspects?
Rhona: There hasn’t really been any stand out bad parts to be honest. I guess there have been stressful parts in terms of meeting deadlines etc. But that comes with any responsibility.
Rachel: There aren’t many bad aspects to being the President of Her Campus. I would say that it is slightly stressful knowing that everyone is depending on you. There is no one else to blame if something goes wrong but I guess, repeating what Rhona said, this is what happens when you take on a lot of responsibility.
HC: What has been your proudest moment so far since you set the society up?
Rhona: My proudest moment was Fresher’s Fayre. It was the first time we had ever been able to see the public reaction to our society and magazine. Everybody loved our stall and so many different people approached us about joining, partnering with us or even running events with us. And all the members were amazing at selling the society; it really should us how much they themselves believe in it. Plus we won best stall – so we must have been doing something right!
Rachel: Rhona and I agree on this one that it is definitely the Fresher’s Fayre. The stall looked amazing and we had a lot of support on the day. It was so good to see that the society Rhona and I had set up was something that interested people and was hopefully going to be a successful society on campus (in my eyes, it is already the best). It felt like all of our hard work had paid off in the end. Everybody was so keen to join! I would also like to make a shout out to the rest of the committee who were fab on the day!
HC: If you wanted to encourage girls to join Her Campus, how would you pitch it to them?
Rhona: If you are looking for something a little different at University, a chance to meet new people and learn new skills in a pressure free environment then definitely join. You will get the opportunity to do something totally different to what you do in day-to-day classes. It also definitely isn’t just for people who do English or subjects like that it gives girls from medicine, law, languages, business, geography and every other background you can think of the chance to be a journalist, events planner, brand ambassador and PR. And I would say if you are thinking of going in to the journalistic field definitely consider joining! It gives you a chance to create a professional writing portfolio on really any topic you want. And a lot of HC alumni are very successful in the magazine world, so there is the opportunity to follow in their footsteps or make great contacts!
Rachel: Her Campus is unique to Aberdeen because there – literally – isn’t another society like it. We welcome all girls and as it is a new society we are always looking for new ideas! It’s a society that doesn’t put pressure on its members and it is a place you can join and have fun – the events we put on are fab! Anyone can participate and contribute in some way, we’re a real team and we all rely on each other to keep everything going smoothly!
HC: How do you spend your time when you aren’t running Her Campus?
Rhona: Being a fourth year the answer is sadly in the library. But on a happier note I love playing hockey, going to the gym and I have recently taken up cheerleading which is amazing and so fun but I definitely have a long way to go in order to perfect that skill. I also love food so I like to try loads of bars and restaurants in Aberdeen when I have then time and money!
Rachel: All the members of Her Campus know that I am besotted with four young children – sometimes I actually think they are my own. I am a nanny for a lovely family in the West End of Aberdeen. Every day brings new challenges, but so much fun. The kids are gorgeous and just absolutely lovely! I love my job. When I’m not being a nanny, which is hardly ever, I love to read, look at pictures of dogs and indulge in the odd Netflix marathon.
HC: Has being President of a society changed other aspects of your life in any way?
Rhona: I think it forces you to manage your time better. But it also is a big confidence boast in a way because it shows that you can lead and team and help people have fun without being a total dictator – which is always a worry. And it has given me a lot of faith in myself when applying for jobs. I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone with Her Campus so I now no longer fear doing it again.
Rachel: Being the President means I am busier than ever before but I love it! I have definitely learnt to be more organised, and manage my time better, but Rhona is the organisational keeno. She keeps me in check – I can definitely get carried away!
HC: How would your friends describe you in three words?
Rhona: Oh goodness, it would depend on which friend and my behaviour that day but probably: driven, kind and (overly) opinionated.
Rachel: Only good words I hope, but energetic, creative, dog-enthusiast!
HC: Most valuable lesson learned from being President of Her Campus?
Rhona: Not all my ideas are good ideas.
Rachel: You can’t do everything on your own. As they say – “it takes a village to raise a child”, but in our case “it takes a village to raise a magazine!”
HC: What are three things you couldn’t live without?
Rhona: Exercise, Friends and my Family
Rachel: My family, Twitter and Kirby grips.
HC: What is your best piece of advice for the modern day collegiette?
Rhona: Take every opportunity you possibly can. You can never have too many skills or too many hobbies – and Her Campus Aberdeen can be one of them!
Rachel: It sounds so cheesy, but just be yourself and respect your own journey – anything you achieve or fail to achieve makes you who you are. It all sets you apart from everyone else. It is also important to give out what you want back – I’m a big believer in karma!