Student Volunteering Week: Sunday - Marielle Scholten

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Marielle is the President of the Publishing and Journalism Society. She has been a very active volunteer with the society; organising talks from FBI agents, running writing workshops and conducting weekly interviews.

Why do you volunteer?

During my time at university I have found that volunteering gives you great experience (both life and work), but mainly it puts you in contact with new people and people you would not have met otherwise. I think that this has made me sign up for more volunteering work throughout my time at BSU. 

What have you gained from volunteering/ How have you benefited from volunteering? 

As I mentioned, I have gained a lot of new contacts and even friends. The contacts have benefited in my role as president of a society, but also they have contributed to my assignments (e.g. I contacted one of the book buyer at Toppings for an interview, I had volunteered with them for several months in my first year and kept in contact regularly – she was happy to help out.) You can probably guess what the main skill is that has been developed through volunteering – networking. It is one of the most used phrases when it comes to thinking about career planning, but it is essential. Volunteering is brilliant for networking, cause it gives you the opportunity to mingle with new people, but also show some skill, and willingness to work, to professionals that you might work with later on. 

Why is volunteering important (to you)? 

For me, there are two main reasons. One, meeting new people. As an international student (with no family in the country) I've had to start from scratch when it comes to friends, contacts, etc. Therefore volunteering provided the perfect opportunity to do just that. Two, career planning. I'm a very ambitious and career focussed person, so I tend to volunteer in areas that will ultimately benefit my career in the long-run. Although, I did volunteer at an event called Forest of Imagination, which is set up for children to explore the outdoors and their own creativity, and this has nothing to do with my career, but being able to work with kids and help them be boundless when it comes to expressing their creativity was simply rewarding in the fact that these kids had a great time. 

What advice would you give to a prospective volunteer?

I would say get a mix of different experiences, both the ones that help with your career, or other ambitions, and combine these with some that are all about giving without any immediate benefit to yourself (i.e. children, charities, hospitals, etc.). Also, don't confine yourself to what people think volunteering is, it can take many different forms, from campaigning and raising money for great causes, to working for university societies and helping out with events. 

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