Our second article of the week is about Angela Connor. As a mature student at the University, student life can be a bit different. But she has used volunteering as a way to meet students of all ages, and use her experience to help make a difference not only on campus, but in the community! Find out about her volunteering journey so far…
What Volunteering roles do you have?
Within the SU and University I am an Academic Rep, Peer Mentor and part of the A-Team. I have been involved with the Problem Solver initiative at the magistrate court and I also volunteer at events in Ceredigion Museum.
Why do you volunteer?
I've always enjoyed volunteering as it is an excellent way of getting involved in the 'community'. It’s also a great way to meet people and be useful at the same time. Perhaps it is the mother in me and wanting to support people so they can achieve their best. Or perhaps it's that I have struggled in life at times, and offer the support that I would have found useful in those situations.
As an Academic Rep, part of role is about being a filter for the students. If they are angry about something, then I can listen and empathise. I don't like hearing people moaning and doing nothing about it. So as a rep, I can take the issue to relevant parties and help make changes. Change only happens if we know what is going well or what isn't. The changes made will impact on future cohorts so is really important.
What's your best feel good moment as a volunteer?
Mostly seeing people achieving or rising above any issues they may have had, which isn’t just a positive for those individuals, but it also enables me to feel more connected. Being a volunteer at University has also helped me, because as a mature student, it can sometimes feel lonely, as we don't always 'fit in' with younger students. Therefore volunteering at uni has given me a way of being involved and hopefully accepted.
What benefits have you gained from volunteering?
There are so many benefits…It’s allowed me to meet people and make connections across all of Aberystwyth. As a mature student I don't socialise that much with younger students, but volunteering on campus has allowed me to get to know students of all ages and be accepted within the student community. I love walking round campus and seeing people to say hi to and chat to. But I also have got to know people in the local community from my volunteering.
It’s fulfilling and can also lead to other opportunities. I started as a volunteer with the Youth Justice and Prevention Service and now I work for them!
Volunteering has allowed me to get more out of life, and I know I can't change the world, but I change what happens in my world and if we all did that, the world as a whole would change.