When we talk to students about why they volunteer, we’re always met with an inspirational passion for the cause they dedicate their time to. Meet Ibrahim, a first-year LLB Law student, who has been volunteering for the Sutton Trust and is passionate about social mobility.
The reason I volunteer is simply because I believe in giving back to the community. My aim as a student volunteer in particular is to help students who are currently walking the same path that I once did myself. Rather than let the students figure it all out completely for themselves, I wish to collaborate with initiatives that help those students, giving them a boost so that they can remain motivated and confident in their ability to study the subjects and access the career of their dreams.
I am also an advocate of social mobility and BAME since no student should be held back to due to barriers that exist just because of their contextual background. The Sutton Trust is an organisation dedicated to removing these barriers by inviting students to apply to their various opportunities so that the students can have the same opportunities as students who are more privileged.
Before I volunteered as an alumni for the Sutton Trust, I was part of the 2017 Pathways to Law cohort at the University of Manchester. The programme helped me to a great extent, giving me the opportunity to network with legal professionals, visit law firms and courts, complete two work experience placements at commercial law firms and attend CV and personal statement workshops for my UCAS application. I felt obligated upon graduating from the programme to give back to the organisation, by volunteering for them, ultimately volunteering to help students who need it the most.
I currently volunteer as an alumni for the Sutton Trust. I have made my own video for the Sutton Trust’s IGTV series on Instagram and based it on a discussion of how students can remain productive at home and network despite the circumstances. I also spoke during a virtual Sutton Trust webinar event on the 1st of June to do with Legal Education and how my legal studies have been impacted due to the coronavirus.
I also decided to become a mentor for the 2019 Pathways to Law cohort at the LSE. I have a group of five students to e-mentor, assist with their UCAS applications, give advice with regards to their A-Level or BTEC exams/coursework and I uphold safeguarding initiatives during in-person events.
I was nervous at first, because the students under my responsibility are, quite literally, my responsibility. I did not know how best to communicate or what piece of advice would be the most effective for the students. However, volunteering is not about being in your comfort zone. It is about putting your time aside and skipping out on that Netflix show, and putting yourself out there to challenge yourself, improve yourself and discover new things. I found it really fun to speak to those students because I found that I was passionate about it after the event. As I spoke, I could see myself in those students, and I remain forever grateful to the Sutton Trust for accepting me onto their Pathways programme as a mentee in 2017 and a mentor in 2019.
I need not say anything further on why volunteering is fun. Get involved! There are plenty of opportunities out there. Get in touch with me if you cannot find something to your liking, perhaps I could be of help.
If Ibrahim has inspired you to volunteer, check out our blog on COVID-19 volunteering or one of our other 100+ ongoing opportunities. You can also book a one-to-one with David Coles, the Volunteer Centre Manager if you have more questions. And why not follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up-to-date with our events and opportunities and read our blog for more volunteering tips and stories.