Name: Silja Slepnjov
Year of study: Graduate (2015)
I moved to Glasgow from Estonia in 2011, to study Politics with Journalism and Creative Writing. I started volunteering with USSA in my first year and somehow ended up as Editor In Chief of the Strathclyde Telegraph for two years, right up until graduation in 2015.
Area of volunteering/societies:
Strathclyde Telegraph, Strathclyde University Dance Society, Welcome Team, Clubs and Societies Executive Committee, Strathclyde International Society
What inspired you to volunteer?
Arriving in a strange city, with two gargantuan suitcases and not a single person to call a friend was a daunting enterprise, to say the least. Welcome Teamers helped me find my feet (and the right flat) and made my first day at Strathclyde with their earnest good will and reassurance. They definitely inspired me to pay it forward. Not realising it would eventually grow into volunteering, I joined the Strathclyde Telegraph to gain practical skills and build my writing portfolio outside of coursework. The dance society was a great opportunity to continue practicing my main hobby. Again, the volunteers that ran these clubs inspired me to give my time – they were producing something of great value to the student community and I wanted to be a part of that.
Why should others volunteer?
Volunteering did not just shape my four years at Strathclyde, it defined my entire university experience. There is no better way to expand your skill set, since all you need is a good attitude, a willingness to learn and the willingness to take on responsibility. It will definitely lead you to opportunities and experiences you would have never even thought to seek out unless you became a part of the manic time-giving machine known as the USSA volunteer pool (who alone will make your life tremendously more interesting). It’s also difficult to think of something more fulfilling than the knowledge that you made a difference and had a positive impact.
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