Why volunteering is the best thing to do this semester

22 Feb 2017
Team touching fists

Not only does volunteering help you build new skills and improve your CV, it’s also a great way to get involved with the people and the city around you. And if nothing else, doing something which helps someone, or brightens their day is such a good feeling.

Kate, a recent Psychology graduate, decided to take the Volunteering module during her time at Winchester and tells all about what the experience meant to her, and to her career.

Where I volunteered

Group of students in formal wear

I chose the volunteering module because I wanted to get real-world experience in a clinical setting. I wanted to give back to the community and make a difference in someone’s life.

I volunteered as an Activities Befriender in the Mother and Baby Unit, Melbury Lodge, where I ran hourly activity sessions. This included a lot of colouring and baking with the patients!

What I gained from volunteering

Certificate for Employability Psychology prize awarded to Kate Purdy

I learnt to be more patient with people and not to judge by first impressions. Whilst running sessions, it was important to adapt to the situation on the day, as what the patients wanted changed very often! I learnt how to deal with conflict between the opinions of employees compared to the mothers and this proved to be a balancing act. This showed the importance of being open-minded.

I also had to adapt what ‘success’ meant to me. Before starting volunteering, it meant completing an activity with 100% satisfaction. I learnt this would not always be the case as success can be measured in different ways, such as building a relationship with a patient.

Something I never expected was that the Activities Befriender role would work both ways, as the women taught me things too – which was brilliant.

This experience was extremely rewarding and worthwhile as an hour a week felt like I was making a massive difference in a mother’s day. As a volunteer, it allowed mothers to open up to me as a friend.

Volunteering and my career

Kate purdy graduating

Listening to the experience of the employees I worked alongside reinforced my drive to get a career in this area of Psychology. This role was very rewarding and what was once a little victory became a great success. This volunteering experience was so worthwhile. It showed me the importance of perseverance and how it can pay off in the end.

This experience encouraged me to seek a role that helps and improves the lives of others. It is so rewarding knowing that you have helped someone and I know this is an area of work I want to go into.

Feeling inspired?

There are so many ways you can get involved with volunteering whilst you’re studying. Volunteering Week at Winchester is a great time to find out what’s out there and how you can get involved with a project or a charity. Keep an eye on Winchester Careers’ Facebook page to find out more.


Kate Purdy - BSc Psychology Graduate

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