Two years ago, if you’d asked me to sacrifice a night of quad-vods so I could be fresh to get up at 7am on a Saturday, I probably would have laughed and carried on drinking. I also probably wouldn’t have believed that I would spend so much time in my third year doing, planning, and thinking about volunteering.
In April, I decided to run for a position on the Volunteering Committee. At that point, I’d just finished volunteering with a national charity, Action Tutoring: it sends volunteers to under-privileged schools to provide one-to-one GCSE tuition to children who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it. It was no skin off my nose to allocate a few hours of my week to tutoring, and I ultimately found the process really rewarding. It was especially interesting to work with the top tier pupils and stretch them with their thinking.
So, full of positivity and enthusiasm for volunteering, I ran for the position of Inclusion Officer at the Volunteering Committee’s AGM. I was elated to be elected (I must have had the edge over R.O.N), and am now really getting into my role.
Since September, I’ve spent a Saturday morning gardening and painting at a local community centre, and took part in the ELTC’s Conversation Club where I met people from countries such as Iraq and China. If you’re stuck in a rut and not sure how to meet people outside of your flat and course, volunteering is one of the best ways I can think of to meet plenty of interesting people!
Everyone is always keen to revel in the fact that our Union gets voted top in the country time and time again, but I’m not sure how many of these people are actually actively involved in the opportunities that our Union offers. Sheffield Volunteering makes up a massive part of the Union’s success, so why not look into what they offer? Depending on your schedule, there are chances to take part in one-off events or commit to something more regular. University doesn’t just have to be about your degree and hangovers!