Volunteering: What’s in it for me? – By Blaise Moten-Mills

hands holding letters that spell volunteer

Volunteering is probably one of the most rewarding experiences you can have as a university student in my opinion. I’d always wanted to do something on a voluntary basis during my studies, not only because it would look great on my CV, but also because it feels good to give back to the community.

I think for me, the most daunting part about the whole volunteering journey was finding something that would suit me, but it ended up falling right into my lap. I found out about Students in Schools during my start-of-term department meeting and was immediately drawn to it. Despite studying languages, I never wanted to become a teacher, so I myself was surprised when I started to consider joining the programme. The training we were offered ended up being the final nail in the coffin, it sounded like such a worthy cause. I also felt that it would help me personally, as I’ve never been much of an extrovert and felt that something like this would be really good for me.

After filling out a few forms, I was allocated a school and a few weeks later, I began assisting in a local Year 1 class. Monday mornings are now my favourite day of the week. It’s so refreshing to go back to basics, to help the children with their reading, or to get them excited about PE. I find it to be a fantastic way to forget about assignments and coursework for a few hours and enjoy the nostalgia of being back in a classroom and being creative. While my role is a modest one, I feel valued by both the children and the staff, and I can’t imagine my life without the class. One pupil even brought me a Christmas present and I was honestly so moved by their kindness, especially when they only see me once a week.

As I said before, the scheme will look great on my CV and I feel it will really make me stand out when I apply for my Masters or for a job in the future. I believe it shows that someone is really engaged with their local community and is happy to do things for the benefit of others, rather than just themselves. But there’s so much to be gained personally from volunteering too, which I hope you can glean from my experience in the local school.

Reading Students’ Union is really helpful when it comes to finding opportunities too! Not only is there the Raise and Give (RAG) society, which raises money for different charities, but there are many other schemes which the university helps support (both in and outside of the university).

My bottom line is that I hope you consider volunteering during your time at Reading. Its the best way to combine doing something for others with doing something that can help you learn and grow as a person!

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