Learn how AK Yuill, former Studenteer and current final year student, built up her confidence and brought her ideas to life through volunteering. She tells us about how her year abroad to Spain was cancelled during the pandemic and how a one year remote, volunteer placement at Studenteer has rewarded her.

What kind of volunteering work did you do at Studenteer?

I first started volunteering internally at Studenteer HQ as a press officer back during lockdown in November 2020. In this role, I had the opportunity to secure press coverage for the team- my favourite part of this probably being the interviews I got to organise between various university newspapers and Studenteer, as well as the exciting feeling of seeing my own writing published! I then moved into a bigger and more varied role as Head of PR this summer. As a people person, I loved (virtually) meeting and creating partnerships with some inspiring organisations, working with the marcomms team on our fun campaigns, and much more. Apart from my roles, I also had the chance to help Studenteer with their fundraising campaign Steps for Studenteer by walking a marathon with the rest of the team.

What did you like most about volunteering at Studenteer?

Apart from my role itself and the invaluable experience it gave me, I loved the feeling of being part of a something bigger in an amazing initiative that helps students and charities alike. I especially loved the culture of team; everyone was super friendly and supportive, and working with them was always exciting. I also loved how no idea was ever seen as a bad idea and I had the chance to get involved in other things when the chance arose. Volunteering at Studenteer really built up my confidence and I now feel much more able to engage with people, collaborate, and put forward ideas I’m passionate about.

How has volunteering affected your other commitments?

My year abroad to Spain was cancelled, and so, whilst I tuned into online classes from Spain, I found myself living at home with a lot of spare time. Studenteer therefore worked out for me perfectly as it gave me a sense of purpose as well as allowing me to socialise during the pandemic and gain some incredible skills. During university term time, and in summer with my part-time job, I found I could devote hours to it when it suited me, and with everyone being in the same boat as students or recent graduates, it was flexible, and anyone was happy to help me out during busy periods.

Is there any specific skill that you have mastered?

I don’t know whether I can quite say I’ve -mastered- any skill as I’ve found there’s always more to learn. However, whilst this used to daunt me, I find I don’t pressure myself so much anymore which has made me less afraid of failure and more excited to try my hand at new things. Especially in a role where I was reaching out to people, but also allowing my creativity to be used in brainstorming ideas, I’ve really found my confidence has grown considerably. I’m never going to be perfect at something, but I’ve learnt that shouldn’t stop me from putting ideas out there and putting my heart into my work. When I’m passionate about something, I can make anything happen!

How has volunteering helped you in your career?

Since my time at Studenteer, I’ve taken up roles on a university society committee and on the marketing team for Leeds’ biggest university-wide fundraising event. I wouldn’t have had these opportunities without the experience Studenteer gave me. I’ve been able to get stuck in and involved with not only my role’s responsibilities but help out on different sides of the marcomms team, hold meetings, source partnership contacts, bring ideas to life, and much more. Studenteer is by far the biggest part on my CV. I’m currently in my final year of university, and 80% of employers say they are more likely to hire an applicant with volunteering experience, so as graduate-role applications continue I believe Studenteer will be a key, if not the most valuable part of my experience to mention in interviews and applications.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Don’t be afraid to try new things
  2. Network and collaborate with other people
  3. Put your ideas out into the world
  4. Have fun!

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