Name: Elvira Aghalarova
Studies & University: MSc University of Groningen
Why did you join the Board of Management?
I joined the Board of Management in the 2018-2019 mandate as Marketing Officer and during that period I learned and grown a lot. The organisation changed for the better. In the end of the mandate I was amazed how EFPSA was rapidly developing and how it has become even better within a year, therefore I applied a second time to be Secretary General in order to be a part of this welcoming community and help with future ideas for the development of the Federation.
What is the best thing about your position?
The position is so flexible with the different things that you can work on and learn from. Working along with Administrative Support Responsible on documents and newsletters develops incredibly your skills of writing, looking after the work of Web Support Coordinator teaches you a lot about the structure of the webpage and how to update and develop it. Do you know what happens to your data that you give when applying somewhere? Well, from updates about GDPR and changes of it from Data Management Responsible you can learn that. I can’t think of just one thing that is the best about my position but a trillion of things. Unfortunately, the word limit for the text is narrow, so just email firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be more than happy to give you more information.
What is the biggest challenge you had to face with this mandate?
The biggest challenge in the beginning of the mandate was adapting to the team that you are going to work along throughout the year. You should maintain a structure for guiding them, however, within a month of being in the position it starts coming naturally and as you become friends with them it makes it easier to help out with tasks and you won’t feel uncomfortable while having team Skype meetings.
How did you maintain your EFPSA responsibilities with your other responsibilities?
It took a good couple of weeks after the Congress in Denmark to plan everything so that I won’t miss out from EFPSA work and still be able to do other things. All you need to do is get a planner, sit down every Sunday and plan the upcoming week like: answer external emails on Monday and Working Community emails on a road to university, save the Thursday night for the “video call” meeting with the Board of Management, study for university’s subject A on Tuesday and subject B on Wednesday and so on. It won’t always go smoothly with what you have planned to do but if you look at the whole picture: 80% of the time it will work out really nicely for you. Also, if you have never gone through life with a planner before, at the end of the mandate you will be a pro in organising your day/week/month.
What skills have you acquired during this mandate?
Problem Solving – in every workplace there is always something coming up that is unexpected and needs your attention urgently. If I got lost the first time, the next time I had more experience on how to handle it quicker.
Communication – the amount of emails written to externals developed this skill by 100%, no cap.
Information management – most of the emails that was received from the externals were not the ones that could have been answered by me, therefore, with time I learned to decide based on information provided by the sender what should be the following procedure.