To celebrate Student Volunteering Week, we’ll be releasing a blog every day this week written by one of your Student Volunteering Ambassadors! Here’s Jennifer, a third year LLB Law student, who has been an ambassador for 3 years and is currently volunteering with one of our fantastic charity-partners IntoUniversity. If you want to get involved with Student Volunteering Week this week, check out all the events on this other blog.

I’ve been volunteering with IntoUniversity since October 2018 as a University Mentor, where I get to provide 1-on-1 mentoring to a student now in Y11. I have the opportunity to help a younger student develop academic, social, and career skills, whilst building an important relationship.

Last session, my mentee was so willing to share her opinions and thoughts on how to improve her time-management and her revision techniques. After a year of trying and encouraging to get her to proactively share her views – I was astounded at the confidence she displayed. She was able to identify the obstacles in her way, and how she could overcome them, without me needing to ask. If I’ve had a part to play in this, it makes me really, really, proud.

Mentoring is a challenging two-way exercise. I always forget that I’m also learning in that room. Learning to be fully present. The voice in my head that tells me I didn’t do my readings, didn’t exercise, or that I didn’t do xyz – that voice in my head, after just 1 hour of mentoring, is silenced.

Silenced by the fact I did something much greater and more important than all the rest combined: I was there for somebody else.

Mentoring is daunting because I always wonder if I’m truly teaching her. If I have the experience or knowledge needed, or if I am addressing the most pressing issues and concerns. In truth, she teaches me so much. She teaches me to listen. I have to sit and fully listen to everything she says. After a day spent sharing my opinion on the current state of the law, the deficiencies of some legal test, or whether legal reform is necessary…before speed-walking to the library (stressed about my next class). I have to sit and listen to somebody. Somebody who needs me to listen.

She teaches me to be a good role-model. The best role-model I can be: attentive, motivated and positive. Otherwise, I cannot help her. It’s probably the best lesson I keep learning.

If we’ve 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 that will return for Michaelmas Term 2019, 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.