Growing up, I saw first-hand how volunteers can really help people and add value to the lives of others. That’s what first inspired me to get involved – and I’m glad I did! "John Niven, discussing why he decided to volunteer.
John is a 3rd year BSc Psychology student and PASS Leader.
Tell us in your own words about the volunteering roles you’ve been involved in.
I have quite a mix of volunteering experience ranging from casual short-term opportunities to more structured, long-term work. Some of my more recent volunteering roles have been as a classroom assistant at a Primary School for children with additional support needs; I’ve spent time shadowing a Chartered Psychologist within the NHS; and I have begun training with a mental health organisation to become a volunteer befriender.
The first thing that comes to mind is communication skills. Volunteering has allowed me to work with a range of people from various age-groups and backgrounds. This has helped me to be a lot more confident speaking and listening to people from various walks of life, both formally and informally.
What else do you get out of volunteering?
Volunteering has opened up so many doors to me and given me opportunities that I might never have otherwise experienced. I’ve been everywhere from Leicester to China because of volunteering and the experiences it has given me! Apart from the personal benefits it gives, it’s also great to know that the work you’re doing is worthwhile and might even help you get a job one day!
How does volunteering fit in with your student life?
In my experience, volunteering has been really flexible – the time you give to volunteering is entirely up to you and how much you want to do. The organisation I’ve just begun volunteering with holds its training sessions at night, so I don’t have to miss any lectures or classes. Volunteering has always fitted in well with my student life – and I’ve always still had loads of time to go to work and see my mates.
Why would you recommend volunteering to other students?
The experience and opportunities it can give you, the people you meet along the way and the feeling of doing something really worthwhile with your time – that’s why I volunteer. I would really encourage everyone and anyone to do the same - there really is nothing to lose and everything to gain!
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Yeah, get involved! You won’t be disappointed!