Guest blog from 2nd year student Alexandra on her experience of uni and how volunteering has helped her.

 

My university experience has been a roller-coaster ride! My fresher’s year was definitely not like the one you hear about and definitely not the best. I put myself at an extra challenge as I chose to study French although I have a slight speech impediment which obviously makes learning a language that bit harder. Nervously, I went for it, not knowing what to expect but luckily I was very well supported academically by the Student Support and Guidance which I am so grateful for.

Very early on in the year, I began suffering from chronic pains which affected my energy levels considerably and it was difficult to keep up with the required assignments as well any student’s daily routine. Although it made my student life much harder, I made it a point to show up to my lectures with a positive attitude, trying to put the pain behind me. It was so hard to keep a straight face as I felt so lonely and sad all the time. As you can imagine, this is not the desirable first year student experience but I kept pushing through with the help of my family and friends and the incredible support of my lecturers.

A departmental prize came to my surprise! This acted as a great motivator to continue onto second year!

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Second year is where it all changed! I returned to uni with a positive outlook and decided to join the Rotaract society which is a volunteering organisation. It gave me the fantastic opportunity to volunteer to help out in the community of Chester whilst meeting new people. Volunteering for the local community has increased my confidence and it’s extremely rewarding to know that you are helping others around you!

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This has made such an impact on me that I am now volunteering for ‘Shine’ – a charitable service that supports children suffering from Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus and hope to continue this type of charitable work when I complete my degree.

I am now preparing for my short-term placement in a business school in Lyon. I’m really excited to see what awaits me and immerse myself into the French culture. A year ago, I was anxious at the thought of going abroad and having to communicate in a foreign language.  Evidently at first it will be difficult, but I feel that this year has prepared me well and I can’t wait to start this new adventure.

I am grateful to be able to share my experience so that people can see that not all bad situations last and everything will eventually turn out right!

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For more information about volunteering visit the University website:  https://portal.chester.ac.uk/studentsupportandguidance/Pages/volunteering-and-mentoring.aspx

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