Last year I worked as a student caller raising money for the University of Sheffield Alumni Fund. Although you might not be immediately familiar with the Alumni Fund, as a student you will definitely have experienced some of the good things it does for our university. Not only does it fund scholarships and bursaries, it also gives societies and departments money in order to improve both experience and equipment. If you’ve ever been to the IC (which hopefully you have!) – This was equipped by donations to the Alumni Fund.
As a caller my job was to speak to university Alumni and try and convince them to donate. However I quickly learnt that the role was about much more than that. It was about really connecting with the alumni and finding out how Sheffield had benefitted them. At first I was really nervous, stuttering on the phone, thinking what could I possibly say to these people who are much older than me and I have nothing in common with?! Thankfully my nerves quickly melted away as I found some people so easy to talk to and who had a lot to say.
As a student caller I got the chance to speak to people who had done all sorts of things with their degree- from a man who had played in the men’s doubles finals at Wimbledon to a woman who ended up as headmistress of the school I used to go to. It was really inspiring to hear all the different paths people had taken.
What was especially interesting was talking to people who had done the same degree as me- English Literature. Even though they had all done the same degree there was still a huge variety in the directions people went in. This reassured me as before this I was having a bit of a panic, wondering what on earth I was going to do with my English degree when I graduated. However talking to so many Alumni showed me that your degree is what you make of it. It motivated me and gave me the confidence that anything is possible when I graduate- I just need to make it happen.