Sarah Jones began her student journey with the Open University in 2017. Sarah believed that life as an OU student meant a solitary relationship between her and her computer, with no need for anyone else.
On top of her OU studies, Sarah had her own personal challenges and she quickly realised she needed more support. Sarah reached out and discovered the OU Students Association. Suddenly, she was part of something bigger. Sarah’s student journey was enriched through the Association and the network of friendship, support and practical help it provided. Through the Association she discovered she had a voice and her voice counted.
Four years later and with a first-class honours degree to her name, Sarah is now in her second year of a Masters degree and President of the OU Students Association. Sarah kindly shared with me her thoughts and reflections on the Association’s 50th anniversary, which kicks off with the biannual Conference in January 2022.
50 years is a time for reflection and celebration. During 2022, the Association will mark its many achievements in helping all OU students realise their ambitions, regardless of their background and needs. Inspired by our students we will also be looking forwards, ensuring the Association is fit for purpose for the changing needs and demographics of the OU student community.
One of Sarah’s projects is an ambitious plan to raise £50k towards OUSET, the Association’s student charity. Funds raised by students are used to benefit students in financial hardship and Sarah has lots of exciting fundraising ideas to reach this target.
The global pandemic has challenged all of us and Sarah reflects that many are grieving for what they have missed. Like many other students, Sarah missed her degree ceremony and looks forward to celebrating this achievement with those who supported her by her side.
“But we got through it!” Sarah says, adding that the resilience of OU students blows her mind. We, at the Association, are creating a book of inspiring student stories that we will be inviting you to contribute to as part of the Association’s 50th celebrations.
We encourage you to start 2022 with something exciting by joining Sarah and the Association team at ‘Conference 2022’ on 21-23 January.
‘Conference 2022’ will be held entirely online, giving as many people as possible the opportunity to take part. It will be a time for important business, for inspiring speakers, for networking and for finding out more about your university. Most importantly it will be an opportunity for the Association to hear your ideas and views, so we can adapt and become better equipped to support you in your student journey as we all look towards the future.
“Come along and join us and be part of something bigger; as OU students you may be unique, but you are never alone.” Sarah Jones