Student Volunteer: Nice

Nice has been a student volunteer for Guideposts at our Community Mental Health Hub in Watford, Henry Smith House, since October 2019. We welcome several student volunteers each year, who contribute to Guideposts’ work while consolidating and adding to their learning experience. We spoke to Nice about her experience with us.

What made you decide to volunteer?

I have been studying a course in psychology with counselling skills, and as part of that I needed to take a placement for a year.  I was particularly looking for a counselling environment to work in, but just wanted to be in a mental health setting. It was hard to find a suitable placement, but I was really glad to find Guideposts.

What sort of things have you done in your volunteer role?

I’ve been able to do a really wide range of things: signing people in and generally talking with them, helping with groups and even leading them sometimes, and acting as link worker in one-to-one meetings, as well as helping with data and systems in the office. A bit of everything really!

What have been the highlights of your time with Guideposts so far?

I was able to take the women’s group, where we give each other space to talk about how we feel. I gave a talk on how the weather changes your mood, and everyone gave feedback from their experiences. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to lead a group, but it gave me confidence and helped to improve my speech and public speaking.

The link working has been closest to counselling, which is what I want to do. Although it’s not counselling, I have used some of those skills. It was helpful to see how it works in real life, not just through study.

What have you learned through being a student volunteer for Guideposts?

I learned that I do like helping people. I wasn’t too sure initially – I knew I was interested in the subject but you don’t know for sure until you have the actual experience. I know I’m in the right place now.

I also learned that I like rock-climbing! I joined in with a fundraising activity, where I was taught how to do it. It was good to get out of my comfort zone. I normally like Zumba, skipping and weight-lifting for exercise, so this was something completely different. My arms felt like jelly afterwards, but I loved the experience.

Where do you think this experience might lead you?

I have just finished my course now, so I am looking for a job, and I would like to continue training in counselling. I will continue volunteering 1 day a week with Guideposts for the time being, as it’s really useful experience.

What would you say to other people who are wondering whether to volunteer?

Guideposts and Henry Smith House is a really friendly, welcoming place. It’s really fun to be around, interacting with people from all different paths of life.

Even though you are helping other people, you get a lot of positive feeling and learn about yourself too.

The one piece of advice I’d give is to be open to learning, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

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One Response to “Student Volunteer: Nice

  • Jane Allen
    1 year ago

    Nice has been a great asset to our team in Watford. We are so pleased she has been able to do so much for us. She is a joy to have around. If we have helped in any way towards her future career plans, then that is such a huge positive for Guideposts. We are so grateful to all our volunteers and always hope we can help them gain as much as possible from the experience. Jane – Volunteer Coordinator (SW Herts Mental Health Services)