When someone asks “What is it that you do during a board year?” there is not one simple or correct answer. I could plainly name all my daily tasks or show them my schedule, but that would never make them fully understand my experience of a board year. A board year is different for everybody and even after three quarters of a board year I am still struggling to explain it. In this short article I will try my best to give an insight into my year as Treasurer of the board at Asset | Econometrics and try to answer the question: What is a board year? text by: Bastiaan Schutte – Treasurer 2019-2020
Starting a board year, for most, means full-time five days a week bonding with your fellow new board-members, while getting overloaded with information by your predecessors. For me it mostly meant working alone, with the current treasurer or with the current chairman. Since my other board-members were either traveling to companies or other countries. This fortunately did mean I had more than enough time to get to know the ins and outs of being a treasurer. By the time the academic year had started I was well prepared to be a board member. This, however, did not mean everything went smoothly from thereon, the chaos had yet to start.
Already the first day of college, I got to feel the pressure of a board year. In the morning I had to be present at the bachelor introduction day of MAK (I am also a PASS-mentor), where after I went back to our rooms to work on my bookkeeping tasks. Immediately you could notice the year had actually started, there were already multiple members present, whereas in the summer only few members dropped by every now and then. I got to my computer, loaded my spreadsheets and started working on our associations books. After a short while members had noticed my return and started asking questions they had been wanting to ask me when I was gone. I love helping other people, so naturally when they asked me questions I gave them my full attention and tried to help them as well as I could. This took me some time, but I did not think I would get in trouble doing my daily tasks as I had plenty of time left before I wanted to go home to eat. Unfortunately a little later I found out that the master kick-off day that was put in my agenda, was something I also had to help with. Hence, the bigger part of the afternoon I spent preparing and being present at the pub-quiz of the master kick-off day. It resulted in a way more fun and interesting afternoon than I had imagined beforehand, but also a less productive one. That is one of the lessons that could be learned during a board year: finding balance between fun and less fun tasks.
Time flew by and we as a board got more and more comfortable with and effective at our tasks, this meant stress became a little less for me and I got ahead of my tasks and had time to do more tasks that were just hanging around. This was also the period where one of the committee I was coordinating, the International Business Tour committee, was extra busy. The trip to Mexico was only a couple of weeks away and the final preparations had started, not only for the committee, but also the board. Even though I would be the only board member to join during the trip, the absence of a single boardie would not go unnoticed. Their workload would improve quite a bit for the coming two weeks. This meant we had to divide my daily tasks clearly beforehand to make sure they were not left unattended. Although the others were not the most excited to have this extra workload, they did it without any complaining and I want to thank them for this, since this made the trip way more comfortable for me.
Now the board year would not have been a board year if I did not have plans the night before an eleven hour flight, namely our very first committee dinner organized by the promotion committee. Although I went home earlier that evening I, of course, still woke up tired and not so fresh for the trip. This luckily did not matter, since the day was more than exciting enough for me, as this would be the first time for my flying intercontinentally. And my excitement was not misplaced, the trip turned out amazing, with minor struggles for the committee we can look back on a trip to not forget. I also learned the effect of a jetlag here and how to, sort of, overcome it. Now jetlag was not the only lag I experience. When I got back a whole load of work was waiting for me to be done and to worsen this, two of my committees had important events nearing. Luckily for me, my co-board members had helped me during the trip and I had a clear view of all the tasks I was behind on. An overview of the tasks at hand makes it easier to perform them and relieves much stress.
The next period went by very fast, before I knew it, it was already the new year and the Department Members Meeting (DMM) and the New Years Drink were coming up. Both of these were important to me, for the DMM I had a budget update to present and at the new years drink the new International Business Tour (IBT) committee would present the location of the next tour. While the preparations were not the most difficult, they did bring stress. For the IBT committee it was the fact that the vests I had ordered were coming exactly on time, but when they arrived the printing was wrong. This meant the IBT committee would not have their clothing to present at the drink. Bringing this news was not fun, but they took it fine and got really creative with their announcement of the location. For the DMM the preparations were going smooth, since a week beforehand I sat together with my Finance Monitoring committee to do the quarterly check of the books. Unfortunately, however, I got quite ill the weekend before the DMM and I did not get better for about a week. This meant I had to miss the DMM and the drink. Luckily Marieke, the vice-treasurer, and Jochem, ex-treasurer and chairman of the Finance Monitoring committee, helped me. Together they made the presentation of the budget and presented it at the night itself. I am very grateful they were able to help me in this already busy week for them. The next few weeks I did go back to our rooms to work, but not as effective and energetic as before. It did however get better quickly and I only occasionally had trouble with it anymore. Even though this was a setback for me, I learned to work around it and that it is okay to sometimes tell people you are unable to work.
The last part of the board year, is the part we are currently still in. After an exciting trip to Ljubljana and fun week during Carnaval, I was ready to start working full weeks again. This came to an abrupt and unfortunate halt when all of our events for the coming period were cancelled and the foresights were uncertain. We went from working full time in one room with each other, to working alone and not seeing each other physically for weeks. This, at first, made me calm and more relaxed, but as the weeks went on, I started to see the consequences more clear and clear. Working from home can be, for some, more relaxing and more stress-free. For me it was mostly less productive and most importantly less fun than working at our rooms. No members dropping by, no other board members to quickly talk to. I am however lucky, I never am truly bored. I have my girlfriend and my roommates to hang-out with, play games with and occasionally also a fun barbecue. I have nothing to complain, although I sometimes really miss having a different place to sleep, work, meet and hang-out. I got to think about my board year in a way you only have time for after your board year is finished. I got to value working together in our rooms, appreciate the small things of the year and most importantly the experiences. The changing assignments, the new tasks and all the new people you meet.
A board year might be about learning of yourself, it might be about meeting new people and expanding your network, it might be about traveling places you would otherwise never go, or it might be about personal development. It is different for everybody, it could be just one of these, it could be something else completely or it could be all of them combined.
I would say that it is the crazy and chaotic combination of all these factors that made the board year, a board year for me.