National Student Volunteer Week 2022 acknowledges and celebrates student volunteers, and promotes volunteering to students and young people across Australia.
The theme this year is Passion. Opportunity. Change. which explores how students can realise their dreams and effect change across the world…and it all starts with the act of giving their time to a cause they believe in.
Communiteer would love to share with you a story or two about the experiences others had during their time as a mentee within our Pathway to Employment program. Little acts of kindness may not seem like much but when everyone has a little kindness in their heart, those acts add up!
This National Student Volunteer Week 2022, let’s celebrate the students who have faced the unknown, made new connections and explored new possibilities.
University of Wollongong
Our first story for National Student Volunteer Week 2022, is Megan Chau from the University of Wollongong. Megan was drawn to the Pathway to Employment program looking for tips and tricks for the interview process and for the workplace. Funny enough though she got a job two days before the program started!
So her goals changed to learning how to maintain the work/life balance and how to make the transition from studying full-time to working full-time.
“I was with Cindy, my mentor, and she was absolutely phenomenal. It was really great to just be able to talk to someone who was already in that life. Before the program, I kind of looked at full-time work as this big scary thing! I thought to myself, how am I going to keep up with hobbies, friends and family while adjusting to a much harsher workload?”
Going into her new job in law, Megan had a few creeping fears of her new position. She feared that maybe someone had made a mistake hiring her and that would shine through if she ever made an error. Megan remarked about her mentor Cindy, about how she did a great job of helping her overcome these fears and showing her that she belongs in her job.
“I had a lot of impostor syndrome going into the role. Do I really belong here? What if I make a mistake? Cindy was great at keeping me grounded!”
Cindy helped Megan set goals she wanted to accomplish during her time in the mentee program, both personal and professional. Cindy presented a more unique solution for helping Megan balance her personal and professional goals.
Dedicating slices of a pie to each section of your life. Megan’s more professional goals were aimed at networking and making connections. Cindy helped Megan organise professional goals into smaller mini goals each week and one such goal for Megan was to introduce herself to four new people in a week. A great strategy to take onboard this National Student Volunteer Week 2022!
“We talked about the idea of a time pie. A quarter of that pie would be for your working life and you’d have to divide up the rest of your time pie dedicated to other areas of your life.”
Beyond goals, Megan also thought about what she wanted to take away from the mentoring program in terms of skills. One of the most crucial skills for anyone would be self-belief. A lack of confidence can really rattle a lot of people and foster a sense of doubt. Confidence extends beyond just your ability to work the job. Cindy was a great help for Megan in that regard.
“Going into the program I kinda just wanted to build up my confidence. Cindy and I come from different industries. Cindy’s in tech and where I’m in the legal industry, we really didn’t have similar skills. But we expanded more broadly to confidence and being able to approach and introduce yourself.”
University of Wollongong
In her final year for a bachelor’s in medical and health science at the University of Wollongong, Sofia was unique going into the Pathway to Employment program. She had a lot of experience as a mentor in previous programs before but little as a mentee. So for Sofia, it was odd being on the other side of the table of such a relationship. But being on the opposite end of this relationship gave her a fresh insight and new challenges. Let’s hear her story this National Student Volunteer Week 2022!
“I’m kind of a workaholic. When I’m given a lot of breaks I kind of freak out. So I thought what opportunity can I take on board that will push me out of my comfort zone a bit?”
Having a female mentor that works in STEM helped Sofia prepare better for the workforce, in particular the job application process. Sofia’s mentor Janice did a lot in building up her confidence and showing her that she does have valuable skills to offer. But their relationship wasn’t always business. Even when Sofia and Janice would just be having more casual conversations about Janice’s own work experiences, Sofia felt that every session with her was never a waste of time. That she got something meaningful and valuable out of it.
“When me and my mentor Janice first meet, it was an instant click.”
When asked about advice for other mentees going into the program and lessons learned from her time with her mentor. Sofia was quick to point at ideas stemming from self-confidence. Just because you are fresh out of university, doesn’t mean you have any less to offer. A major blocker to discuss this National Student Volunteer Week 2022, with many students experiencing a lapse in confidence emerging out of lockdowns and isolation.
“There’s this concept we’ve been working on about knowing that you will be an addition to the team. You shouldn’t think of yourself as inferior.”
National Student Volunteer Week 2022
This National Student Volunteer Week 2022 encourages programs that give students the opportunity to lead others in connecting to their community and offering kindness.
Communiteer’s Pathway to Employment program is still running, among a range of other newly developed programs for students.