A Student Volunteering Week Special! Here’s one of five fantastic blogs that we’re posting this week to celebrate Student Volunteering week. This one is from one of your Student Volunteering Ambassadors, Mei En Choe. Keep reading to find out about Mei En’s experience of volunteering…

It’s my turn to sit down and recount my share of volunteer experiences.

Back in secondary school, volunteering was literally an academic criterion. One had to complete a minimum of 100 hours a year in order to qualify for the next academic year. As students around me rushed to register for volunteering ‘crash courses’ – from 30-hour hunger-simulation projects to the more elaborate week-long overseas volunteering programs, I found my Saturdays split between picking up litter on beaches and selling all kinds of charity merchandise on the streets. It’s easy to see why, when volunteering is reduced to a number, we are inclined to revert to a series of mental calculations and activity logbooks.

Thankfully, I was able to give volunteering a second chance after graduating from high school. I began volunteering for the Children’s Cancer Foundation, which involved running the playroom for young patients visiting the out-patient clinic. There, I had no quota to fill, nor any official document to record my hours on. But in that playroom where I received so much more; a young mother camping for hours in a hospital – in a land whose language she barely knew, waiting for her daughter’s next appointment; a nurse’s commitment to his work, pushing him way beyond his regular duties and into the hearts of the young patients. And lastly, the strength of so many young patients, bravely living life as best as they could – even when the task of standing up became harder and harder as their treatment progressed…

Here in London, I have signed up with Euston Foodbank, and shall commence my induction this week. Where will this opportunity take me, I have yet to find out. Every volunteering experience is unique. I encourage you to find one that connects with you and give it a go.

If Annie has inspired you to volunteer, check out one of our other 200+ ongoing opportunities or book a one-to-one with David Coles, the Volunteer Centre Manager if you have more questions. If you are short on time, then take a look at the one-off opportunities taking place in Lent Term organised by the LSE Volunteer Centre. And why not follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram to stay up-to-date with our events and opportunities and read our blog for more volunteering tips and stories.