Volunteering isn’t just about giving but gaining. This realisation dawned on me late, not until I participated in the Community Engagement Programme 2022, which reignited my passion for volunteering.
Frankly speaking, my initial motive when I signed up to the project was merely to put my knowledge to good use. After seeing the promotion by the Volunteer Centre on LSE’s Careers site, I thought about contributing with my limited creativity and the so-called critical thinking skills a law student is supposed to possess. Other than the satisfaction of making a slight change in society, I never thought about gaining anything else.
Before the project, I had always found communication, especially with people I have just met, a daunting exercise. I fancied working separately on our individual parts upon an effective work distribution at the start of the project and compiling our thoughts together only in the final stage before we submit the report. To me, this appeared to be more time-efficient and effective in avoiding conflicts in opinion. Nevertheless, in the midst of gathering our research and ideas, I realised what it really meant to work together as a group — no work can be perfected without good collaboration.
Cooperating with teammates from diverse backgrounds, be it in terms of age, nationality or discipline, I understood the importance of embracing our differences, while trying to establish a common ground where we base our work towards. I have come to appreciate our varying work ethics and tried to adjust mine to enable a smooth timeline for writing a coherent report. For instance, as someone who is brought up in a fast-paced city, I value efficiency and breadth over depth. Throughout the project, I had attempted to take in the opinions of others and tried to put more focus on details. I realised this is something I have to work on. I am grateful for the inputs from my teammates, which gave me the opportunity to view things from another perspective and approach my work differently. I have also become more confident in expressing my ideas to my seniors. Admittedly, disagreements are inevitable when working alongside other people, but it is paramount that we learn how to listen to what others think and reflect and improve our own thoughts. Not only have I developed essential soft skills applicable in the workplace, but I have also grown as a person.
Finally, I simply cannot wrap this blog up without recommending everyone who is looking for a rewarding experience to join the Community Engagement Programme in the coming year.