One Year in the NetCom, A Look Back (#2)

A lot of term limits for the NetCom have ended on the first of December this year. So, this seemed to be the perfect occasion to reach out to some of the leaving NetCommies and ask them about their experiences of the past year. Here to answer some questions are Mareike Wegener of AEGEE-Aachen and Melissa Carreres of AEGEE-Alicante, two exiting NetCommies after a year of hard work and dedication.


1The AEGEEan: Could you tell us something about yourself?

Mareike: Hey, my name is Mareike, current Speaker of the Network Commission (until the 1st of December), member of AEGEE-Aachen since 3.5 years and now living in Cologne. If I am not doing something with AEGEE, I am working for my PhD (rocket sience and material engineering). I love travelling and meeting new people.

Melissa: I am a nurse and I finished my Master’s degree on Nursing research last year. I am currently working as a Clinic and Study Nurse in an Infectious Disease department. Besides, I am a sports lover and a globetrotter.

My history in AEGEE started in October 2013 and during these 3 years, all the activities and the events that I have attended and organised have given to me lots of experience, knowledge and good moments that I will never forget. I became really active since the beginning and I have contributed as much as I could since then, spending 3 years in the board of my local (one as president), organising many activities and events, and 3 Summer Universities in a row.


dscn1221What made you want to become a Member of the Network Commission?

Melissa: To be honest, applying for NetCom it was not in my plans. Actually, after my term as president in my local I was thinking about having a “little break of AEGEE life”, but then, one member and beloved friend, who has been supporting me since my beginning in AEGEE, suggested it to me and motivated me to do it. He believed in me, even when I thought I was not capable of doing it, and now I am very grateful that he did that because I could not have imaged all the unforgettable experiences that I had this year, and I do not regret but I am glad that Pablo influenced me with the decision of running for this position.

Mareike: I was Organiser of NWM Aachen 2014, at that time I felt in love with this kind of event. I joined Andrea Schmelz’s SubCom team afterwards and then the Network Commission got me. I attended more and more NWMs, I met and worked with a lot of locals as SubCommie and I really started  to like the work and the cooperation with the people, so running for NetCom was the next step [she smiles, ed.].


14713038_1256346131089550_5729950305540019046_oWhich of the plans that you had when you ran for NetCommie did you manage to execute?

Mareike: Related to the work with my locals, I wanted to promote the Twin Antenna project and make all of my locals aware of LTCs. If I look back know, I think this worked well. I had four locals signing a Twin Antenna Contract during my term and many LTCs, and even 2 RTCs. But I am also happy that we, as a NetCommie team, developed a lot: we started some good reforms about NWMs, RTCs and now Antenna Criteria, and the team atmosphere was really good. Beside this, I also enjoyed more and more cooperation with the CD and other European bodies.

Melissa: One of my strongest aims was having further contact and fluent communication between Locals and the NetCom. I have managed to contact locals actively, being helped by my SubCommie team, and I made sure that the information flowed better. Besides I managed to know most of the boards’ members personally, which was really meaningful because they could easily contact with me anytime they needed to.

I have used Monthly Reports not just as a way of checking Active Communication Criteria, but also as a tool for getting to know better each antenna, mainly their weaknesses and assets. I have given them regular feedback and motivated locals and helped them when the situation was not going well. Besides, with feedback, I have advised locals on how to report their activities better.
I have also supported the “Sharing is caring” initiative, in which I have tried to encourage locals to share their best activities with the rest of the Network.

Last but not least, I did my best in the events that I have organised. I made sure that both NWMs and Renove were kind of different than previous events by having more meaningful content and guaranteeing that sessions were really useful for locals. Feedback from their side was good, so I am happy with it!


img_3934What did you learn from your time as a NetCommie?

Melissa: First, I have learned how to be super efficient with time. NetCom work takes you a lot of  effort, so I have learned how to handle my time properly and I kind of managed to combine my term with my personal and professional life.

Secondly, working with an international team of Netcoms has been the most enriching part, because I have learned a lot from every one of my NetCom colleagues. Having different cultures and backgrounds in the same team gives you a great advantage to better overcome any type of situation.
And last but not least, I have learned a lot from my locals. By knowing them and the way they work, I have learned lots of tools and also different ways to face local antenna management.

Mareike: I learned a lot about time management, disciplin and multitasking, but also about myself and my limits. I improved a lot of skills like facilitating of meetings or public speaking and I really enjoyed to organise my NWMs.


img_5734What was your best experience as a NetCommie?

Melissa: I had many good moments within this year. I really enjoyed the two live NetCom meetings that we had in Brussels, being at the CD house is an amazing experience because you have the chance to meet your team personally, which is crucial and improves a lot your daily job. Besides, during Agorae, I also had a good experience and it made my motivation grew even more.

But if I had to choose, I would say NWMs, both were really special and I worked a lot on them but also enjoyed meeting with my locals there.

Mareike: NWMs! I love these events, their atmosphere and also the positive energy you feel when you leave. In my opinion, it is a perfect mixture of fun and socialising, but also thematic work and improvement of our Network.

But I also spent many nice moments with my team. Of course during live meetings in Brussels or at the Agora, but also the internal work via podio or skype was really good. I am happy that I had the oppertunity to work with all of them.


dsc_0387How did your life change while you were a part of the Network Commission?

Melissa: I think it has changed somehow. When you are having Skype meetings twice or even more times per week, you have to adapt your personal life to your work and try to handle it in the better possible way without going crazy.

Besides, this experience helped me to develop personally and professionally. I can even say that I more mature after this [she laughs, ed.].

Mareike: Of course, I learned a lot about AEGEE, its structure, cooperation with people and some hidden group dynamics, but more than this I think I learned a lot about myself. Things that no course at University can teach you, but you get well prepared for life and your career.


nc-pictureWhat are your future plans?

Mareike: Well, I will finish my Phd and see what is coming next. However, for AEGEE there are still some things I have in mind that could be improved, so maybe we will see each other again somewhere in Europe [she winks, ed.].

Melissa: I would like to focus more on my professional life, because I need to prepare an important exam to get the vacancy on a public stable job at the hospital, and I also have in mind to start a PhD next year.

Regarding my AEGEE life, there are still more chapters to be written, mainly I would like to keep contributing to our association by teaching all the knowledge that I got during this time to other members. Nothing sure by now, but becoming an official trainer someday is on my to-do list! Who knows? [she laughs, ed.]


Want to continue reading? Click here for part 1 and here for part 3.


Written by Willem Laurentzen, AEGEE-Nijmegen