Meet our student volunteer: Becky
With students across the country starting university soon, we spoke to Becky to find out what it was like to be a student volunteer at Healthwatch Sheffield.
I started volunteering during my gap year, which I found through Do-it.org. My initial plan was to stop volunteering when I started university, but I had become so attached to Healthwatch Sheffield's youth volunteering group that I didn’t want to leave. My experience volunteering helped me to land a job working for Healthwatch Sheffield, where I now help children and young people get involved in health and care.
What did you do as a volunteer?
I found volunteering really flexible as I could vary the level of my involvement depending on my university commitments, deadlines and exams. As a student volunteer, I attended regular meetings where we talked about a range of health and care issues. We decided what to do as a group, hosted guest speakers and organised mini events on topics like mental health.
How does volunteering make you feel?
When I was a student, volunteering made me feel like a vaguely responsible human being. It was nice to feel like I was contributing to society, even while living off a student loan, on a diet of sugary cereal and baked beans. I made lots of new friends while I was a volunteer, many who were also students.
What do other students think of you volunteering for Healthwatch?
I’ve spoken to other students on my course about Healthwatch, and they are usually really impressed by the work we do. Whenever someone mentions that they’ve been to the doctor on campus or attended A&E, I always tell them to review the service they got.
What would you say to other students who want to volunteer?
Do it! I made lots of new friends while I was a volunteer, many who were also students. University life can often feel composed of two things; course work and going out. Breaking these things up with little two hour slots of activities that aren’t just about the student life can be really good for the soul. Of course, volunteering does involve some work but the benefits you reap from it can be a real mood booster.
Want to get involved?
If you're a student interested in volunteering opportunities, why not get in touch with your local Healthwatch?