9 August 2023

Prioritizing Volunteering with a Busy Schedule

Early volunteering experience

I first started volunteering when I was in year 10, for my Bronze Duke of Edinburgh award. I volunteered with my local Brownie unit that I had attended when I was younger for a 6-month commitment. Admittedly, it was challenging at first, and daunting going from a Brownie to now organising and supporting evenings. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the 6 months and really developed my confidence and interpersonal skills. Despite juggling my grade 8 piano and DofE award, I continued volunteering and continue to do so to this day.

When I started university, I wanted to continue to make a difference to those around me. I came across Zero Gravity and BrightSide- two incredible organisations which support students with making informed decisions about their next steps.. 

Finding Tutor the Nation

I found out about Tutor The Nation through LinkedIn, when it was previously called the Corona Virus Tutoring Initiative. I was really curious to see what the organisation was like and was impressed that schools don’t actually pay for the tuition. It’s funded by some investment banks. I also had tutored with a few other organisations on a weekly basis but wanted more flexibility and to be able to keep my French very much alive. I have now been volunteering with Tutor The Nation for almost a year and am now an ambassador, helping to raise awareness and promote TTN on campus. 

 How do I fit volunteering into my week? 

Time management is crucial. My week is quite busy especially with an intense year abroad course and other academic commitments. This entails regular meeting and sometimes some work around this for projects. In order to juggle everything, I had to get good at prioritizing and making the most of my study time. I now try to maximise my time although at times, admittedly you really do need to take a break and have some ‘me-time.’

Tips & Tricks

I recently downloaded the app Hold which is doing wonders for my productivity. I can now just leave my phone on the timer and then accrue some points to enter prize draws and discounts. In addition, I really like using Google calendar. This allows me to record all of my meetings, commitments and other events and I can see my week at a glance. I can then time block and work out what time I have outside of lectures to catch-up on work or do my assignments.

I try to break down what I need to do, with a to-do list with two columns- academic and other. This helps me to identify what I need to prioritize and what I need to do. Doing this, also helps me to have more of a routine and plan in my day.

I try to do all of my mentoring and tutoring sessions in the same evening. This means that I have specific allocated time to this, whilst also allowing me to meet up with friends and do what I enjoy.

I’d highly encourage young people, particularly university students, to start volunteering. It is so rewarding to watch a pupil who was struggling with a topic, begin to grasp it and it is  truly inspiring to see their commitment to their studies. Given the disruption to education to which so many young people have been confronted, there really is no better time like now to volunteer.

– Volunteer Ambassador, Emma

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