FSR-FMGxMEDIUM: A day in the life of the FSR-FMG’s official secretary

Picture of By Cecilia Begal

By Cecilia Begal

[mks_dropcap style=”letter” size=”52″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]H[/mks_dropcap]i! My name is Robin van den Hoek and yes, I am the same girl who stares at you while you are peeing in any of the Roeterseiland toilets. There is a reason behind it, though. That Toilet Paper poster is actually an FSR FMG campaign to promote the vacancy of official secretary. How come? Well, it looks like I’m leaving on April 1st. No joke!

As the Secretary of the Faculty Student Council of UvA’s Faculty of Social and Behavioral Science (FSR FMG), I work about 10 hours per week. What for? Students’ interests and demands. Every two months the OV (‘Overlegvergadering’) takes place: the FSR FMG sits down with the dean to talk about the student’s interests and it is up to me (and maybe to you soon), the secretary, to precisely write down what commitments the dean makes to us – the students. The minutes of these meetings are legally binding: once they are set, these commitments must be executed. In this sense, I must say, the secretary has quite a powerful position.

So what does an ‘Overlegvergadering’ day look like for me? 

Well, let’s see…

07:00 Wake up, time for a yoga session.

09:00 Breakfast! Avocado toast, since I am striving to be a fancy millennial.

10:00 Still at home, I prepare the ‘template’ for the minutes of today’s meeting, check if the order for the coffee and tea has been confirmed, and read the preparatory meeting pieces. I need to know: what is the essence of what the council is trying to get across? Efficiency and informed arguments are the key. After that, I reply to some emails and book rooms for the upcoming Plenary Meetings of the council.

12:30 Arrival at Uni. I pick up the voice recorder at the service desk and find my way to our office, B1.09. As I walk through the door, 11 nervous and enthusiastic council members are already there. They go over their strategies one more time while I check if my voice recorder is not out of battery (a secretary’s worst nightmare!).

13:00 We make our way to the 6th floor: the place where the magic happens! This is where the dean’s office is and where the meeting room is located. We greet the dean, I open my laptop and we are ready to go, for the next two hours.

15:00 Time to head back to the office and evaluate. How did it go? Did everybody get to say what they wanted to say and are we happy with the obtained commitments? While the council discusses this, I already start working on the action list. It has to be finalized within 48 hours, whereupon both the dean and the council start working on their to-do’s.

17:00 The evaluation session slowly leaks into a chill session, the council members that are still in the office play music and make plans for the evening. Time to go home!

Hard work? Yes, but it pays off

This is one of my busiest days as an official secretary of the FSR-FMG, but there are also days when I don’t execute any council work and only reply to some emails while at home in Amersfoort. My job is super flexible, which makes it all the more enjoyable. Working for the FSR, I have learned more about university politics, about the process of making changes in the policy of such a big organization. It helps me understand what happens at the UvA from another perspective.This new knowledge I’ve collected throughout the past two years, has proved itself extremely handy and relevant now that I’m pursuing a specialization in Work and Organizational Psychology.

Yes, hard work and self-commitment are surely required, but the benefits surely outweigh the sacrifices. Firstly, you get paid well and secondly, it is super fun and fulfilling to work with your peers for a common cause, which is something I’m really going to miss when I leave on the 1st of April.

To sum up, do you speak both Dutch and English (passively as well as actively), have you become super enthusiastic after this article and would you like to become my successor? Check out the vacancy, the applications are closing on the 21st of February.


Cover: FSR-FMG


If you’d like to read more about what the student council of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has been up to, check the rest of the FSR-FMGxMEDIUM collaboration!

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