She studies English, and now it’s time she told her own story – meet Charlotte Thompson! Charlotte has been volunteering for Rafiki Peer Support since September. We spoke to her about why she’s in our good books.
Why did I want to be a Rafiki volunteer? I wanted to support people going through what I’ve been through myself. In my second year I didn’t do a lot of stuff, so now I’m in third year I thought this was my chance to get involved. I saw it on library screens and on the website, and I decided to apply.
Volunteering for Rafiki has been challenging, but it’s also been rewarding.
A challenge for me has been learning not to give advice. When a student comes in and asks for advice, you have to let them know that you can’t give it. We try to get them to give themselves advice without realizing. For example, if a student is socially isolated, it’s stuff like – asking what they’ve done so far to get involved socially, and then finding out what they think they should do.
The most rewarding thing is when people say thank you. You get a sense that what you’ve said is right and will help that student to feel better in the future.
We did training with the Samaritans, which I found interesting. At first it was unnerving – we were doing a role play, and my mind went blank! But once we did some practice it all went into place and didn’t seem as scary. Once you get into the flow you work out what to say and what not to say.
"Charlotte has shown exceptional commitment to supporting students since she started volunteering with Rafiki. She shows compassion and warmth to students and other volunteers, and her dedication is hugely appreciated by everyone at the Students’ Union."
Rafiki is the Students Union's peer support listening service, where trained volunteers are there to listen to any issues you've been having, and help you find support services. Rafiki volunteers run the Art Club and an instant messaging service, if you'd prefer to chat online or try out some arts and crafts. There’s no need for an appointment, just pop into our room in University House or follow this link to chat online.
28th February 2020