What I’ve gained from volunteering!
Written by Ria Thakur, a 1st year History of Art and French student.
Volunteering isn’t a common experience in my country, and it was a culture shock for me when I realized the value of volunteering in the UK. So, here are some assuring aspects that volunteering helps you with:
- This experience fuels your future prospects of opportunities. Since I started volunteering, its experience has helped me gain more positions in the university. I was selected to be an open-day ambassador and a Manchester Calling Campaign assistant; both of which had a competitive application process. When you volunteer, each day is insightful; I would suggest you keep track of all the incidents and at least one insight that you have learned during each working day in a diary. This will help you to demonstrate your learnings and keep track of them.
- Helps you to gain confidence. Apart from the University opportunities, the experience has made me confident in other interviews. I no longer fall short of reasons (during an interview) to be a part of the firm because the volunteering opportunities have directly or indirectly gained me a lot of insights. The more you spend time at your volunteering job, the more you are able to portray during an interview. Apart from the time you spend volunteering, the circumstances you come across and how you overcome them matter too; so, please note them down.
- Networking opportunities. When I worked in two art galleries, there were quite a number of networking events where I got to meet people from various careers and professions. It is a great way to connect and ask experienced people queries and guidance regarding your career. These could be people that are directly or indirectly related to your career or other young individuals who know international graduates that have been sponsored in the UK. Networking is key; the more you connect to people, the more you will be able to understand your field. You might not necessarily meet the sponsored student, but you can definitely make a connection that will help you get in touch with them.
- Discovering your comfort. There are so many things that you do not know that you are capable of! Well, I discovered my strength in visitor engagement and networking after just a month of volunteering, just imagine how much would you discover yourself after a longer dedication to it! For me, a long-term dedication strengthened the aspect that I was weak at, time management.
- Freebies! Although volunteering is an unpaid opportunity, you do get freebies on certain occasions. The freebies are reserved for the staff! I have a wall filled with pictures of me and the freebie decorations from the galleries! Let me know what you get!
- Free Therapy. I assure you, apart from all the other gains, satisfaction is often overlooked but it matters the most. Teaching music to some students each Sunday is one of my ‘secret’ volunteering therapies; it gives me extreme satisfaction. Having had to leave music some years back, I love being around Harmoniums and Tablas (Indian musical Instruments) that keep me grounded and close to my culture.
There are SO many opportunities from which you can discover your secret therapy too, something that is just right for you!