Meet the SU officer who is also a part-time painter

She’s even been able to sell a few


With A-level results day heralding an onslaught of freshers to Durham, most of last year’s finalists have already left to start their adult life. Five have stayed behind though, as student officers for the Students’ Union.

Kara-Jane Senior, Activities Officer for 2015-2016, explained how it feels to be staying in Durham for another year.

She said: “It has felt different not being a student but I’m still enjoying my time in Durham. I’m still involved in lots of the same things I enjoyed as a student, both through my role as Activities Officer and through my hobbies.”

“Being an Officer is a good transition from student life to working life and the knowledge, experience and skills I will develop while in this role will be useful to my future career.”

“I have always felt at home in Durham, so it’s great to spend another year in this beautiful city.”

As well as being involved in student groups during her degree, Kara-Jane is also a guide leader at a GirlGuiding group in the Durham area. With time management skills that would make most students jealous, she admits being so busy hasn’t been too tricky yet:

“I haven’t found it too difficult balancing my role as a guide leader with my studies or my current role so far.”

“As a guide leader you are part of a leadership team, so the responsibility is shared and you aren’t expected to do too much.”

“It is an extra commitment but it is something I really enjoy. Working with children and young adults is extremely rewarding for me and I enjoy helping with their personal development, giving them new skills and experiences that will shape their futures.”

While Girl-Guiding is something she enjoys, it was also often expensive for Kara-Jane to be volunteer as a leader. To compensate for this, she started to sell paintings in an effort to offset the cost.

Kara-Jane is especially interested in painting with acrylics, the variety of colours allowing her to create landscapes and paintings of natural scenes.

While she was able to keep involved in GirlGuiding during the final year of her degree, it was sometimes difficult to keep involved in creative pursuits:

“Art is a big part of my life so when I don’t have as much time to enjoy it, it can be frustrating. I tried to keep it up as much as possible, but much of the art I create is given away as presents to friends and family.”

Kara-Jane suggested her next venture into painting might be inspired by her time here in Durham.

She told us: “The next piece I would like to work on would be something for my flat. I’m not sure what this will be, but probably a Durham scene.”

An extra year in Durham as the Activities Officer will give Kara-Jane plenty of time to paint some of Durham’s more beautiful sights.

Having taken up her position in July, Kara-Jane is looking forward to the rest of her time in the role.

She told us: “I’m really excited to be the Activities Officer this year. It’s great to be part of the officer team. I’ve already attended a number of NUS training events and met activities officers from other Unions. I’m particularly looking forward to the Union Fair as this is such a big event for our student groups.”

When asked what she most enjoyed while at Durham, Kara-Jane’s answer made no mention of Klute or college fancy dress, focusing instead on the more squeaky-clean elements of the Durham experience.

She said: “Being part of different student groups was obviously a huge part of my university experience, but I also really enjoyed aspects of my degree that gave me freedom to explore topics that interested me, such as astronomy. It was great to get a balance between learning and having fun.”

While the idea of really enjoying their degree might be foreign to some Durham students, giving one of the Student Union’s dozens of societies a go might be a laugh. Right?