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You should apply for the Bursary?

Andrew Jones, Student Conduct and Postgraduate Records Officer, The University of Winchester.

I’ve been fortunate enough to attend SROC a number of times since I started working at the University of Winchester. Every year at the plenary there has been a presentation from previous SACRAO bursary winners, who went to America, had a great time and came back with the message:

You should apply for the Bursary

Every time I would think “That sounds great but…”. There was always a qualifier. But, I’m too busy to go to America in February. What would I even put in my application? Why would they pick me? Going to parts unknown, on my own, is frankly terrifying. Etc. Then the emails from the SROC committee start coming in saying:

You should apply for the Bursary

Thinking, “I probably won’t get it anyway, so what’s the harm in putting my name down”, I had a look. I went onto the SACRAO website and found out that the Southern Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers would be held in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in February 2019 over 4 days. I found out that while some of the breakout sessions held were specific to the US University system, some sounded very relevant to what I do. And some of them just sounded really interesting: “Crisis Management”, “Micro-Aggressions”, Line-dancing? I showed that to one of my line-managers. She said

You should apply for the Bursary.

So I did. Alarmingly, a month later I got an email saying I’d been successful and that I could start booking my flights, my hotel, airport transfers, conference place, breakouts, arrange my visa, insurance, oh, and if I wanted to go on anywhere else afterwards I would just have to make up the difference, book flights, hotels, and activities. Having never travelled on my own before, to say I was daunted was a huge understatement. I mean, you have heard stories about American airport security, right.

Why on Earth did I apply for the Bursary?

Thankfully, I was not on my own. I was put in touch with my fellow Bursary winner Sharon Horan, and SROC committee member Mark Jones who would be accompanying us. A better couple of travel companions I could not have had. Then along came February and amidst the first snow of the year we headed to Baton Rouge where the temperatures were in the 30s and the only cold we had to fear was the reception of three Brits invading the deep south.

But again, no fear was warranted. I can honestly say I had the time of my life. Despite everything, it was amazing. And I swear I’m not just saying that. The place, the people, the food, “Bag of Donuts” the cover band at the gala dinner who had no right to be as good as they were. Dancing a warm February night away within spitting distance of the Mississippi with Sharon and Mark, and Sidney, Kate, Haley, Virginia, Tyler, Tiffany with a Y…just, wow! All of it. Even the line dancing!

You should apply for the Bursary.

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