Posted by Melissa Leeming on 12 March 2018


Volunteering is super important to me. I have volunteered since I was 13, giving up an hour and a half a week as a young leader at my local girl guiding unit, and I have volunteered ever since. I think it is so important to help wherever you can. People often say that they just don’t have the time to volunteer but really what is an hour and a half, out of 168 hours, a week– it is nothing. And there are so many volunteering opportunities that require even littler commitment – there is just no excuse.

It is hard to put into words how rewarding volunteering actually is and how much it enhances your life. Watching people mature and grow because of something that you have been part of is hard to put into words, but it is utterly amazing. Apart from unapologetically eating loads (and loads) of junk food as a guide leader, my favourite part was watching the girls tell their parents/carers how much fun they had that evening and what they had learnt. I couldn’t help leaving on a Tuesday with a huge smile on my face.

One of my many third year resolutions I made was to play more of an active role at uni in terms of volunteering – so I decided to be part of the Ed Bram committee and run for volunteering and inclusions sec. Running for a committee role was one of the most challenging things that I have ever done whilst at uni. I am the girl who would happily sit at the back of a lecture and not say a word, so standing up in front of people and actually talking was something I thought I would just never do- I honestly thought pigs would fly before I got up in front of people and spoke. 

I am now the volunteering sec in Ed Bram and have had the chance to be part of a team of volunteers that go into primary schools, in deprived areas of Sheffield, and teach basic aspects of law to year 5 and 6 children. I have had such a fab time doing this and wouldn’t change it for the world. I have gotten to know so many more people on my course because of this, and I have been able to watch their confidence, as well as mine, grow. The team of volunteers have been amazing – they have put up with my nagging on the facebook page, constant messages of ‘where are you’ on a Wednesday at 1pm, and my really (really) late emails – but they are truly amazing people and I couldn’t be prouder of them even if I tried. I really would not have been able to do this year without them! (Thank you!!)

So my biggest advice is to get involved in volunteering as much as you can whilst at uni and in life after. Law is such a draining subject at times and it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel (if there is a light). But volunteering is something completely different. To give a small part of your time up to help others is something that cannot be measured in terms of 1sts and 2.1s. Yes, you could probably write 30 flash cards in that hour and a half, or you could teach a group of GCSE students pythagoras’ theorem, or maybe cook a homeless person a warm dinner, or even play basketball with a small group of refugees. Grades are just one part to uni, and whilst so many people think that it is the only part of university that really matters, it’s the other stuff, like volunteering, that truly show your personality traits and really help you in life after uni.

Melissa xox

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