Speaker Profile: Jess

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Name: Jess Reid
Course (and Year): BA International Relations (Final Year)
Presentation Topic: The Welfare World of the Union

Tell us a little bit more.

Hello everyone! My name is Jess and I’m a third year International Relations student. My presentation will be on some of the welfare related work that I have been doing in the university for the past couple of years, specifically my role in Mind Matters, a society in the union that offers support to students in mental of emotional distress and raises awareness about mental health in general. This is something which is extremely important to me, as it genuinely upsets and angers me to know that so many people are being forced to suffer because of a lack of funding and a lack of awareness for mental health, something which affects all of us- and 1 in 4 of us will have a diagnosable mental health condition any given year. Our aim in Mind Matters is to let you know that you are not alone, and we provide a safe space where people can come together. Being engaged in the union is something which has been invaluable to my general university experience. Through this I have been able to meet other likeminded people, learn new skills, confronted new challenges, and have been able to throw myself into life in the union, without engaging I most certainly would not be the person that I am today. I have been forced to push myself in more ways than I ever thought I would have been when I came to Leeds as a fresher. Welfare work is not in any way related to my degree, this is perhaps what makes it so important to me. It gives me an outlook on life that I do not get from my studies, as well as enabling me to meet students from all different degree programmes with different outlooks on things. In terms of looking to the future and career goals, I believe that my experiences have armed me with some of the skills required to be able to survive in the real world away from university.

Leeds is an amazing place to get engaged, I cannot encourage others enough. There are so many opportunities to broaden your student experience, whether that’s going abroad, joining a sports team, or any of the other 300+ societies in the union. There are also countless opportunities to get involved in the city through the union. The University of Leeds is an amazing place to be, and the more engaged you are the more you will get out of it.

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