There are two essential ingredients, or requirements, for a good time. These are order and rebellion. In the same way that a strict diet leads inevitably to greasy meals and sweet treats, a hard week’s work grows a longing for the sloppiest of Saturday nights. As I see it, this phenomenon is evident in all aspects of life. For example, the sensation of immediate satisfaction in seeing a bottle or plate tossed. Where the ‘toss-er’ will enjoy the certainty of knowing the object will shatter and therefore, experience the cathartic release associated with altering something rigid into something free (A sign of good luck in Orthodox Greek culture and others). Following this intuition, it stands that order and security is necessary for the joys of chaos and rebellion. For university freshman the anticipation of the pseudo-debauched student life should be commonplace but, if you’re going to enjoy the ‘night out’ you should plan for comfortable ‘nights in’. This means a stable work schedule and workload, clear examinations with fair marking, and accommodation that meets everyone’s needs. This can be achieved when, we all come together. Student life to a great extent is run as a democracy with petitions to professors and elected representatives from the student union. Therefore, voting will likely be important for maintaining order and in turn, improving the university experience.
If school government in anyway interests, you then you’ll need to first know how it is organised and executed. At Southampton the primary academic bodies are governed, in the Republican fashion, as a senate. This is made up of 67 members including the Vice Presidents, deans of faculty, and with representatives of the student union. Although, university wide decision making may seem distant, as a student you can engage with the administration of the school through the student union senate. The student voice channelled by the student union is made up of five full-time officers and sixteen union senators. These senators are elected by all students (willing to take the time to vote) and provide essential influence on the governance of the school. Over the last two years the student unions governance allowed many students to meet their needs during a bizarre and chaotic exam period. With the exams this year likely to be a mixed bag of pandemic and pre-pandemic style assessments, the student unions influence will be necessary for ensuring fairness and sanity for students.
Outside of the university there are opportunities to proactively engage with the city of Southampton and the country at large. A brief bit of background would touch on the fact that in the UK voting in elections, unlike many EU countries, is run by a parliamentary system known as first past the post. Here the winner is simply the candidate with the most votes. This often means that there are presumed to be very few potential winners. So, you the voter only really have two valuable options, vote for the presumed winner or the presumed runner up. Since the twentieth century in the UK this has, in the world of politics, been Conservative or Labour. If you are residing in the city of Southampton and are of British, Irish, or (qualifying) commonwealth nationality then the option to vote in the general election is yours, when it comes around in 2025. If you’re one of those nationalities or from the EU, then you can vote in city council election when they crop again in 2026.