Q&A: Joining a CSESoc Subcommittee
Interact with any society at O-Week and you'll probably hear something along the lines of "join subcom !!1!". Being part of a CSESoc subcom is a great chance to meet awesome people and make an impact on the wider community. But don't just take our word for it - find out what it's like first-hand from 2020 subcom members Brian Zhang, Hillary Le, Hoya Lee, and Rani Jiang who were apart of the Creative, Socials, Workshops, and Careers subcoms respectively!
The CSESoc Subcom Experience
What made you choose the portfolio you applied for?
Brian (Creative): With all the technicality that comes from studying at uni, I wanted an opportunity to get creative and improve on my hobby of graphic designing. This is primarily why I chose the creative subcom because I was able to further my own creative capabilities and learn from people with similar interests.
Hillary (Socials): I chose to apply for Socials Subcom because I discovered my strength lies in my sociability, and I want to contribute that to CSE. I want to give our students opportunities, expand our reach to all our members and become the society known for its impactful events. I am inspired by how enthusiastic and welcome the CSE Socials team have made me and the first years feel, and I want to contribute, while learning from the Socials team at the same time.
Hoya (Workshops): I applied for workshops portfolio because I had a passion for teaching and sharing knowledge to others.
Rani (Careers): CSESoc has an insane amount of high-profile sponsors, and I wanted to interact with them and their recruiters to gain an insight into who the industry was currently looking for. I also felt like being part of the careers subcom would make me more active in my own career development (this turned out to be both true and untrue).
Favourite thing about being part of subcom? Least favourite part?
Hillary (Socials): For me, there were three things I loved best about being a part of subcom: connecting with people, helping people and being a part of something bigger than myself.
University is a new place. I came down to Sydney from Brisbane, and it can feel very lonely being in a new city just by yourself. But being a part of subcom opened up so many new friendships. Even if you aren’t looking for it, you end up meeting all sorts of people, and forming connections with them. The best part is, you are working together with all these amazing people to bring amazing events and opportunities! It feels great to take a step back, and see what you and your team contributed for one of the largest societies on campus.
Hoya (Workshops): Favorite thing is that you get to meet new people and the least fave part is that there were not many subcom members in workshops in 2020 :c
Rani (Careers): Favourite thing - It’s definitely a tie between the people and the values for me. The people I met were legitimately AWESOME, enough said. What surprised me was after talking to them learning about how much the people, the society, and CSE School genuinely cared about student development - you would feel like you were part of something greater.
Least favourite thing - definitely the meetings which could run overtime (if they didn’t we played Among Us or Krunker.io together which was super fun).
"Even if you aren't looking for it, you end up meeting all sorts of people, and forming connections with them. The best part is, you are working together with all these amazing people to bring amazing events and opportunities! It feels great to take a step back, and see what you and your team contributed for one of the largest societies on campus."
Favourite memory from subcom?
Brian (Creative): I'd say our end of year roadtrip was the best memory I had. With uni being unexpectably online, our opportunity to take a trip somewhere interstate or outside Sydney was crushed. However, we did end up having a "roadtrip" somewhere at an AirBnb in Sydney. It was a great overnight stay, chilling and hanging out. We ending up cooking our dinner and it was quite hilarious at the same time since half of us were quite inexperienced at it.
Hoya (Workshops): It's probably when I held my own workshop!
How do you think being in subcom impacted your uni experience?
Brian (Creative): Joining the society really gives you a fun year-long challenge, however the various memories and experiences I've made and solidified are priceless. It's really provided an opportunity for me to hone my soft and hard skills, which in turn have allowed me to make so many new friends and learn so much as well.
Hillary (Socials): I feel like being a part of subcom has greatly impacted how I connected with people, grew my interpersonal skills and time management skills.
Being in the socials subcom, I got to learn at a very quick pace, how to interact and engage fellow students, from first year right up to postgraduates. It is an amazing experience to be able to motivate and inspire others, and also contribute back to the community. It helps your time management skills, which is a great help in university! It’s made me a more extroverted person, and also just taught me many soft skills. I’m grateful for the new friends that I've made, that I’m still in contact with today.
"It's really provided an opportunity for me to hone my soft and hard skills, which in turn have allowed me to make so many new friends and learn so much as well."
Did you get to meet many other CSE students while in subcom?
Brian (Creative): 100%. Everyone across the various subcoms are extremely welcoming and easy to get along with. Speaking from my subcom, we had numerous get togethers and did all sort of fun activities, such as rockclimbing and cooking tacos together. Through these, I've made some of my best memories and friendships! I definitely think 2020 suppressed the opportunities of more intersubcom events, however I'm quite hopeful for 2021 with the introduction of the internals subcom.
Rani (Careers): Is this even a question? Yes, 100% yes. I think the extra cool part was you met lots of different people - students doing SENG or Computer Engineering, people who had worked at different companies, or done different degrees before. It gave you a network outside of your year at CSE, and with it lots of people you could ask for advice (or get given advice from)!
Did you feel like you were making an impact on the CSESoc community?
Hillary (Socials): Yes! Absolutely. My favourite event was the Cardboard Night event. During covid, there were many unprecedented changes, and one of those was needing to move to all online events! So at first, people were hesitant about coming to online events, which were quite different to in-person events. But being part of the socials subcom, it is our goal to bring the society together and help people connect and make friends, especially in more difficult times!
So we got together and brainstormed brand new activities that could be done during COVID. These included an Alternate Reality Game scavenger hunt, online Drawpiles, online Survivor games on Discord, and online Discord Cardboard board games night!
The most rewarding aspect is making that positive influence on our peers. It is an extremely meaningful feeling to make an impact on someone else’s time at university, and knowing you worked with your team to make it a reality.
Hoya (Workshops): Yup! Most of the events that my portfolio held had a significant number of attendees no matter how niche the topics would be.
Favourite subcom achievement?
Brian (Creative): My favourite achievement is being the proud illustrator of many of CSESoc's merchandise. With the online learning aspect running throughout the most of 2020, being on the merchandise team, it's made us pretty redundant. With much more time on our hands, I spent the year improving my own skills and overall producing much higher quality designs that were later adopted by the other directors. I'm really proud of the process behind it and I've learnt so much from the people around me and am extremely grateful.
Hoya (Workshops): Holding my own workshop 🙂
Any advice for those thinking about applying for subcom?
Hillary (Socials): I would highly recommend anyone even considering subcom to go for it! First year is the time to jump in and give it a go before uni work, internships and other time commitments kick in. I would definitely recommend taking any opportunities with both hands! You learn countless invaluable skills, and it’s a great feeling to help others.
I would suggest attending CSE Events, and attending a lot of events during O-Week. Learn the names of the CSE directors and execs, and talk to them during social events. Show that you are genuinely interested, and be yourself! Then keep a lookout for the applications that open around March, be sure to follow the Facebook page to know!
Most importantly, just be yourself, show that you are truly interested, and don’t give up! There are so many opportunities to contribute and be a part of CSE. Even attending events having a good time and meeting people, you never know where you’ll end up! Go for it 😉
Rani (Careers): I came into uni thinking if I went with the flow I’d learn everything I needed to eventually get a job and be fulfilled. As a 4th year, I can’t tell you how much further from the truth that is. It’s hard to learn if you don’t take initiative to expose yourself to different experiences and learn. If you’re thinking about it just do it!
As for application advice, I’d say to try think about what you’d look for in subcommittee if you were a director of the portfolio you’re applying to (usually we have these written out in a guide released with subcom applications). You should also try think about what experience you have that are unique, or (failing that) just show that you share the same values, are passionate and willing to learn!
Choose your own adventure!
If the subcom experience sounds fun, read more about it in this showcase of what it's like being in the CSESoc Media Team!
Or check out another Q&A - this time with international students at UNSW!
Don't like these options? Check out the full roadmap below!