Victoria Sincock, 3rd Year BA English
What volunteering have you been involved with (FXU or other)?
I have been involved in several volunteering projects over the last few years. I started off in first year by volunteering with the RNLI in their Youth Education department, to teach kids better beach safety awareness. At the start of second year I helped move new students into their flats (moving over 1000 students between a small team of us was hilarious fun), and as a result I got much more involved with FXU. I helped out a lot with the Children In Need week (dressing up in various onesies, supervising the coin race, and even duelling gladiator-style on a big inflatable). I also got involved with the Rally4Shelterbox, helping to organise fundraisers, driving parts of the Rally and running a leg between St. Mawes and Portholland. I finished off second year by going on a CHICKS respite camp, where I helped disadvantaged children gain confidence through various activities.
When I entered third year one of my biggest priorities was to get more involved with the Rally4Shelterbox. I helped organise it more this year and ran a slightly longer leg from Lizard to Helford. It was a really fun weekend - although I was slightly delirious by the end of it, having shared 28 hours of driving with just one other person! Now at the end of third year, I'm getting ready to return to a CHICKS respite camp, and recently volunteered on their stall at the Royal Cornwall Show and paraded around as their mascot for most of the day.
What motivates you to volunteer?
I started volunteering with the RNLI because they are a charity close to my heart, as they picked up my grandpa when he was a boy. I am considering doing my lifeguard training this summer, but I wanted to go into their Education department because I've always believed that prevention is a really important part of saving lives. After a short while of doing this, I realised that I really enjoyed working with young people, so I applied to CHICKS to work with young people on a more emotional level. In both instances I found it so rewarding to know that I was making a difference on quite a direct level. With the RNLI, knowing that by going through basic beach safety with children, I was helping them to become more aware of their surroundings when they went to the beach. With CHICKS, it was knowing that the young people came away knowing that there was somewhere where they were put first, and had a chance to be a child! As cliché as it sounds - knowing that I have made a difference is such a fantastic feeling, especially as I've always had heaps of fun doing it!
What have you take away from volunteering whilst at University?
So much life experience! I honestly can't imagine what sort of person I'd be now had I not go so involved with everything. By doing stuff with the RNLI I've become much more confident in giving presentations, and by getting involved in FXU campaigns - I've learnt to never take myself too seriously, and that by taking part I'm not only helping out the FXU but also helping myself! I'm far more confident as a result of helping to organise huge projects such as the Rally4Shelterbox, and when I look back at my time at Uni, both Rallys feature in a lot of my best memories. Giving up my time to volunteer never feels like a chore, and with each experience I'm taking away so many important life skills that I never feel irritated that I'm not getting paid (well...occasionally when someone brings a mini fridge down to Uni with them and they live at the top of Glasney View...). To anyone who is thinking of volunteering I can completely say DO IT. FXU provide so many DIFFERENT opportunities, so they're bound to be able to find something to suit you. Always volunteer with something that strikes a chord with you, because you'll end up being much more sure about what you want to do when you graduate. My only regret about my Uni experience is that I waited so late into first year to get more involved in the volunteering side of things, because it's been such an excellent thing to have had going on alongside my studies.