Hi. My name is Lydia Jilantikiri
I'm studying for a PhD in biomedical engineering at the University of Glasgow,
and I volunteer with IntoUniversity, the Govan Center.
What are your main responsibilities?
So IntoUniversity has a mission of providing academic support,
guiding towards future, thinking and supporting social skills.
So I was assigned to a student in secondary school
and at the start of the volunteering year or time,
you sit with your mentee and you have a one on one.
So we set a social skills goal, which was to help her in,
to help her presentation skills.
And then we set an academic goal subjects that she found challenging, like maths.
We looked at that and then it was future thinking she had.
She wanted to be a teacher and she liked cooking and liked sports things.
So we started looking at different courses at universities
to try and see that work from her secondary school
time what grades would she need
and how was she performing there to try and chart a way to see if this is
what you want to do in the future?
What do we need to do now to help you towards achieving that?
So basically a lot of our sessions was was around one of the goals, either
the future thinking or helping with Maths or English or
helping with social skills, which for her
the goal was to improve presentation.
Why did you choose to volunteer?
Okay, so I've always loved like giving back,
making a difference, and I try wherever I am to just buy
into a cause, and just help out in any way that I can.
So when I moved, I started my PhD remotely,
but when I moved physically to Glasgow, I just started, okay, what can I do
to volunteer and just give back in a way?
And then I signed up on the SRC website and I started getting emails
about volunteering opportunities that matched my preferences.
And when I saw IntoUniversity as somebody who naturally
has a flair for working with young people, and when I saw what they did,
I made the contacts and sent an email and then we had emails back and forth.
And eventually going to this.
So I guess for IntoUniversity is it gives me the chance to continue
working with young people the way I wanted to
because I like mentoring and teaching and all of that and also just helped me
to give back and just contribute to making a difference in somebody's life.
What have you enjoyed most during your time as a volunteer?
So some things that we take for
granted that come naturally to us do not always come naturally to others.
So for example, when we were looking at some things on communication,
like she didn't even know that she could have a dictionary app,
something as simple as that.
And because English wasn't her first language,
as she moved over to this country from another country, so she still had
struggles in communication just downloading
a dictionary app and showing her how words are pronounced
using the little volume kind of icon
And to see her knowing the meaning of words
and just the lights that came up on her face
that she could just have an app that could help her.
I think that's just priceless.
And every time that happens,
it just gives you this joy that just something you take for granted.
You can do it. It's actually something somebody has been struggling with.
So just this lightbulb moments when you see her face smile and all of that.
It's been worth it for me. Yeah.
How much of an impact do you feel your volunteering has made?
I am kind of a believer in every little helps.
This maybe for Tesco, but
I do hope that one day she gets to remember that in her journey
that somebody helped her out and she gets to do that for somebody else
because like by the time she overcomes this challenges,
when she meets somebody that is having similar,
she would know that this is something that I've gone through
and this is something that really can be overcome.
So it just contributes into that and hopefully they'll be like a chain of
a chain reaction that in subsequent years she's going to look back
and help others and it'll sort of how do they call it pay it forward?
Yeah, she would pay it forward.
That's the key thing.
And I just hope and that's why I think the impact this made and would continue.
What skills have you developed as a volunteer?
just getting to know a bit about the Scottish
educational curriculum for secondary school students.
So at that I've been in presentation and teaching contexts before,
but not for somebody who has not been speaking the language in a long time.
So I'd say it's added to my patience and learning to communicate things
in a language that I speak fluently to a non native speaker.
So that patience and just trying to get examples to relate what I'm trying to say.
So at the end of the day,
my intent is being understood by her and then her intent is being understood by me.
And so we have a middle ground that both of us meet
and then we're moving towards the goal of just helping her out.
What would you say to a student who is thinking of volunteering?
Don't sit it out.
Don't sit it out. Just just do it.
There's a variety of opportunities that the SRC sends via email.
So whatever it is your interest, you might not be interested in mentoring
and or like me, you may be interested in a whole lot of different things.
And they have, like, shall I say, a bank of organizations that work with them.
So yeah, just sign up and there are preferences.
And another grand thing is you could log your hours on the website
and if you're under I think 25 you get Saltire Awards, and the
Scottish Government recognizing you it's good I'm over 25 so I'm not eligible. But
there's a hub that
The SRC also has like the bronze, silver, gold, diamond and all those awards.
So just something to show that you didn't do it for the recognition,
but just something to show that this is what I did in my time at the university
and I have a physical sort of evidence to support that.
And there's also this the graduate attributes of University of Glasgow.
There are ways that you can develop it,
and by writing and all you can show it via volunteering work.
So I feel it's a win win
and don't feel like you may not have a lot of time to do it at the university.
Sometimes it could just be one hour a week or one hour in two weeks.
And also there's just something that you can do
and you could meet people network like people that you may not have met
traditionally at the university.
So a good opportunity to just meet people beyond here.
For the graduation.
We went to University of Edinburgh, so we got to meet people
from the other Glasgow centers because there was Govan and Maryhill
and we met them for the first time there
and we met the centre at the University of Edinburgh too.
So you get to travel, you get to meet different people,
you get to provide support, so don't sit it out.
There are lots of skills that you can learn
to cater for a lot of your interests.
and even if you just want to find out
what some organizations do and all just, just give it a go.
Try it for one month and see.
If you could sum up your volunteering experiencei in one word, what would it be?
fulfilling, definitely fulfilling and rewarding.
But yeah, definitely fulfilling.