I was recently asked to speak to second years about my experience with the Leicester Award in order to try and get them involved in it. In preparing my speech I’ve realised that a large part of my university life has been about trying new things through extra-curricular activities and joining societies (I am a student ambassador, the sociology student blogger, I have completed the Leicester Award and I am a member of the Environmental Action Society). I also realised that taking part in such activities is extremely important.
Firstly because they allow you to become a more employable person. Take my job as student ambassador for example- on the open days I must lead a large groups of visitors around campus or the university halls, ensuring I confidently provide them adequate information whilst working with my fellow ambassadors to ensure the day runs smoothly. Here I am developing and improving my confidence, organisation, leadership and team work skills all in one.
I also found the Leicester Award (a skills development programme which involves taking part in 25 hours volunteering, part-time work or leadership tasks with the student union) to be a highly valuable tool in helping me to become more employable. One of the weekly online workshops got me to outline what I thought to be my strongest and weakest ‘transferable skills’. Then with my volunteering activities I had a chance to improve upon those I believed to be weak. In general the Leicester Award really got me thinking about my career development, such as what possible routes I could follow after graduation, how to prepare for interviews and how I can make myself stand out against other candidates. I really recommend giving it a go.
But secondly, and most importantly, these activities have been and are really enjoyable. I love my job as a student ambassador and in doing volunteering with the Environmental Action Society I have made friends and found a passion for getting others involved with being more environmentally friendly.
What I am trying to say is get yourself involved. This is something which comes up quite regularly in my blogs but I feel that it is a really important thing to do. In taking part in these activities I have tried loads of new things which has allowed me to develop as an individual and to really enjoy my time at university. Getting a degree is one thing but being able to say you’ve taken part in all this extra stuff is even better. So go and join societies, become a course rep, apply to be a student ambassador…you never know you might just find a passion for something!