For many, starting university includes moving away from the family home and supporting themselves entirely. Often that means finding a job, but for some, like myself, becoming entangled in a rigid, inflexible paid job during this stressful time is not the most practical or effective plan for doing well in our degrees.
But without a paid job under our belts, how are we supposed to gain experience in the career that we wish to pursue?
Note to Self-Number 3 billion and 1:
Expect the Unexpected
Volunteering was an idea given to me by my mother’s friend, who had recently taken up an opportunity through DO-IT: a brilliant and ridiculously easy to use website if you are considering a volunteer role. It was an option that appealed to me for a variety of different reasons, one of which being the flexibility. With university looming, I knew that my spare time would dwindle to perhaps a few scattered hours per week; certainly not enough to satisfy an employer. Through volunteering I now am able to balance the work from the role alongside my other responsibilities, both at home and in terms of my education.
What I didn’t expect, however, was how much becoming a Lyfeproof blogger would teach me about the basic and specialised skill sets necessary for pursuing a career of your choice.
Note to Self-Number 3 billion and 2:
Just because you studied Creative Writing A-level doesn’t mean you are ‘a writer’
Although the government likes to believe that education prepares us for the harsher and more brutal realities of the world, the truth is it doesn’t. Here at Lyfeproof, the team are providing opportunities for young people to cross that cavernous gap from education to work.
Although they do not build the bridge for you, they would never leave you with only rotten rope to swing across. They allow you to stumble and make mistakes, and they provide the safety net if you fall. Volunteering at Lyfeproof allows my imagination to thrive and has helped my restless mind to hone the necessary skills that employers look for.
Volunteering isn’t all about skills to make your CV look shiny (although it does help). It’s about a sense of personal achievement, a confidence boost that we all need to take that first step into the world beyond education.
Before becoming a volunteer here, I had no means of getting my writing out there and honestly didn’t believe that I ever would be able to. I lacked the confidence in myself and I will admit that I still do to a certain extent. Despite only volunteering with Lyfeproof for a short time, they have given me the opportunity to begin building my own bridge over a crevasse I never thought I’d be able to cross. Just by writing this blog, I have an opportunity to prove to myself that I am capable, something that my creative writing A-level never could do.
Note to self-3 billion and 3:
Give a Little, Learn a Lot
Volunteering sets you up with the life skills that are needed to go far, the kind of skills that Lyfeproof are trying to make more accessible to young people like you and me. But you might be reading this now wondering why you’d want to volunteer for free when you can gain experience through a job that pays a wage. Understandably, it is not something that will suit everyone as many young people would rather have the money as well as the training. For me, volunteering can offer training in jobs that are perhaps a little out of reach for us young, inexperienced adults. A paid job for someone straight out of college or sixth form doesn’t often lead into a career, or help you start building for one.
If I hadn’t taken up this voluntary position, getting professional writing experience meant I would have had to travel to London for a few weeks of work experience, a journey that would have been very costly and would have only supplied a large burst of knowledge in a short space of time. This is not a learning style that suits me and it was a comfort to come into an environment with people that actually understand young people.
Lyfeproof have instead given me the opportunity to learn and retain the information. Instead of criticising mistakes and failures like school sometimes seems to do, the Lyfeproof team will nurture your skills so that they can be moulded and shaped into something small but permanent that you can carry in your pocket, sound in the knowledge that nobody will ever be able to take that away from you.
Note to Self 3 Billion and 4:
You haven’t finished finding your ‘why’ in life just yet…
So no, you will not be paid in cash for volunteering. Instead, you’ll be rewarded with something much more valuable.
You’ll earn the skills that will boost your CV and in the process, gain greater confidence in yourself while being exposed to a working environment that might not be so different from the one you will find yourself in for your career.
Written by Phoebe Kelly
Lyfeproof – Finding creative ways to get young people life ready. Particularly through mindset. We explain things that help you move forward in life or prevent negative outcomes. We create experiences and invite people to join. We share knowledge across sports, arts, sciences, financial literacy, employability mental health & wellbeing.
Our Vision: Imagine a world where people understand their brains enough to make better decisions, then imagine fully understanding money to never be at its mercy; now thread both with individual and collective purpose so that poverty and disadvantage can be overcome for generations to come.
Our Mission: Lyfeproof works to help young people towards well being. We aim to do this by what you see (online experiences with us), or what you feel (our events, workshops or programmes).
Our Intuition: We believe in sharing things that are proven to work for different people.
If you care enough to share and would like to blog for Lyfeproof, please email info@Lyfeproof.co.uk, using “I want to Blog for Lyfeproof” as the subject header. We appreciate you all.