Learning new things through volunteering

Steph Calley, Lloyds Scholar - University of Bath

There are many benefits that come from volunteering as a university student. These include developing new skills, providing great things to talk about in job interviews, and helping others who really need it. All of these benefits have been experienced by Steph Calley, who grew up in Bath and is now studying psychology at the university, whilst volunteering as part of the Lloyds Scholars programme.

However, Steph has also found that whilst volunteering she has learned things she didn’t expect to, developing her knowledge and stimulating passions she never knew she had. Steph has volunteered at the university’s Minerva public lectures throughout the past year. Steph helps to run talks from various experts from both inside and outside the university to provide insight into a variety of topics. Steph has really enjoyed talking to people who come and experience the free talks. As she says, “Much of the audience is made up of elderly people, and this is sometimes the only time in the week they leave the house, so it feels nice to be part of it.”

Her volunteering has also created new interests and developed her communication skills. She began volunteering at The Holburne Museum in Bath as a way to make up the 100 hours Lloyds Scholars are required to commit to volunteering in their local community each year. In return Lloyds Scholars receive financial support, mentoring, and employability opportunities from the programme. Steph said: “I’ve now developed a real interest in art, it has really surprised me how much I’ve enjoyed it. I have gained so much more confidence when working in the museum – you have to have that confidence to answer questions you don’t immediately know the answer for.”

Steph is an example of student volunteering not just benefitting the people projects are designed to, but also giving so much to the volunteer as well. Steph has learnt some fascinating things, developed interests she didn’t expect, and been able to pass on the benefit of her experience to others.