A Reflection On My Time As a Chapter Correspondent

If someone had told me at the start of my studies that one day I’d be writing an alumni article for Her Campus at Helsinki, I wouldn’t have believed them! My story with HC at Helsinki started at an informal interest meeting where, after having listened to the presentation by the then Campus Correspondents, I saw myself signing up for the chapter on a whim, and less than six months later I was co-running it. Talk about things escalating quickly! The decision I ended up making in that first February interest meeting turned out to be the right one, as was my decision to get even more involved and to become a CC. The year I spent co-managing the Helsinki chapter together with the amazing Aino taught me immensely, and in my current endeavors I still rely on the lessons I learned then. 

 

The most important skills I learned when working for HC were time-management and planning, both of which are necessary for the smooth running of a chapter consisting of dozens of writers and six deadlines per week. Staying focused yourself and not getting too stressed were also key, as sometimes we would not have enough articles at the start of the week and we had to improvise to get them all done. As the current working life is getting more and more hectic – which in and of itself might not be a positive development – I definitely appreciate the experience I had with our chapter. 

 

Some of the challenges we faced were trying to navigate the expectations placed on us by both our readers and the Nationals. Keeping up a steady stream of articles that would also be of good quality and not simply fodder was sometimes challenging, as our team was never particularly big. Encouraging writers to work hard while maintaining a stress-free working environment was sometimes also a difficult balancing act. After a year full of new experiences and learning, however, I’m proud to say that we managed to do just that, and it wouldn’t have been possible without a group of staff writers with diverse interests and viewpoints. 

What I loved the most about Her Campus at Helsinki was the liberty to express yourself in many different ways. Writing for a magazine that doesn’t limit the range of topics nor the form they take – the medium is compatible with personal essays just as well as long-form pieces – is an ideal place to grow as a writer and to search for the most natural way to express yourself. Experiments are also more than welcome! This is the type of freedom that might be hard to find after University, in a job market that tends to value specialization and strict siloes. So all of you out there studying and writing for HC – enjoy it while you still can! 

 

After my year as a CC, I continued writing for Her Campus at Helsinki on a regular basis as well as being part of the executive team as an Events Manager. Since leaving the Chapter, I wrote for a student magazine, in Finnish this time, as I joined the team at Tutkain, the Faculty of Social Sciences student publication, concentrating mainly on societal topics and current affairs. Experience in writing was also an asset when I applied for and got an internship with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. I spent three months working for the Finnish Embassy in Brussels where my job consisted mainly in writing reports based on briefings and research. Last summer I was lucky to work as a Liaison Officer for the informal ministerial meetings organized here in Helsinki during the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the EU, putting further into practice the people and organizational skills that I got to hone during my time as a Chapter Correspondent. As my time at University is drawing to a close and I start looking ahead towards new opportunities, I cherish the time I got to spend working with motivated and inspirational people here at Her Campus at Helsinki! 

 

By Mari Isomäki, Her Campus at Helsinki President and Campus Correspondent 2016-2017