How being a part of a society at Essex landed me my dream job (and much more)

Alexandra hp

When I first started at university, the only thing I knew was that I wanted to join the Harry Potter Society. Being a dedicated Slytherin, no matter how much my anxiety tried to get the better of me, I just had to be a part of it. Fast forward to a year later and I’m receiving messages recommending I run for President for the next academic year. With some gentle encouragement from my friends, I applied and a week later, I was voted in. This was the beginning of three magical years being an executive for the Harry Potter Society including taking on the roles of President, Treasurer, Media Officer, and even Quidditch Captain. Not only that but I was also an executive member of the Writing Society and the Environmental Society.

Alexandra society

Being a part of the Harry Potter Society executive committee boosted my confidence more than I could have thought possible. I made a great group of friends who even turned out to be on the same course as me and I know they will be my friends for the rest of my life. I even remember awkwardly asking them in an ‘exec group chat’ if they wanted to go to the cinema with me one weekend. (Luckily, they did!) As an exec, I organised cinema trips, group trips to London as well as regular weekly meetups. The first Essex Yule Ball was organised by myself and the rest of the 2015/16 executive committee and is now an annual Christmas tradition amongst the Harry Potter Society in collaboration with the Writing Society and the Science-Fiction and Fantasy Society.

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All of these experiences and the increase in confidence they gave me, ended up landing me one of my dream summer jobs. In May 2017, I got a train to London for a job interview. The interview lasted for all of five minutes and I walked away thinking I’d surely failed. Nevertheless, a few days later I received a phone call asking me if I would like to be a witch at Platform 9 and 3/4s. Of course, I accepted and spent the next few months working and living in London. I made friends with Harry Potter fans from across the globe, had a security escort into work on the 1st of September and even met Professor Flitwick himself.

However, even when it was time to say goodbye to working in the Wizarding World, my society experiences still helped me with other job applications. In my interview for TK Maxx, where I worked for a year, we spent most of the time discussing what it was like to edit a book and be published with the Writing Society or what it was like to take over 40 other students to London and back (when the transport doesn’t show up!) I currently work at the University of Essex as Project Worker in Student Transitions and Engagement. Whilst being in this role, I am still able to get involved in societies. I am partially based in the School of Biological Sciences so you will often see me shouting on the department’s facebook page about the Marine Conservation Society or the Biological Sciences Society.

Check out all of the societies available at Essex on the SU website. And while you’re there, meet your Student Officers, learn about volunteering or check out what’s on at the campus cinema – Cine10.


Alexandra Chappell

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