Locked down halls get support calls, thanks to volunteers like Jodie Clark. Jodie’s been an online peer supporter since September. She told us how she helps students feel at home when they’re stuck at home.
As a counselling student I’ve been learning skills of empathising and listening, and this was a chance to put those skills into practise.
I applied in the middle of the first lockdown. I was struggling with isolation myself, and I knew students must be having a hard time starting Uni and living away from home.
It was easy to get involved in a flexible way, volunteering from home. I haven’t had time to volunteer at Uni so far – I’ve got a one and a two year old, and I would have been struggling for childcare.
I’ve really enjoyed it. The live chat was a bit quiet at first, but recently it’s been much more active. We’re getting to talk to people who aren’t comfortable with video chat.
Some people are bored. Some people are lonely. Some people are stressed about conflicts with their housemates.
There was one student I spoke to who was struggling in halls. I got a sense they were feeling low, surrounded by people they didn’t know. I felt as though I helped them by just listening.
I feel more confident for the assessments on my course now. We have to pass a certain number to go out on placement, and now I’m much more confident at speaking to people.
From my course, I’m used to the importance of listening. Just listening to people when they’re upset. Our role is just to listen and pass them on to others who can help them further.
It’s really rewarding, and a good way to interact with people while you’re stuck at home. It’s helped me and lots of others.
I’ve made friends on the team who hopefully I can meet in person one day. There’s a nice social side, of getting to know people. You get a lot of support from Alice, so you don’t feel like you’re on your own.
Jodie shows a lot of commitment and dedication to her role, and always does this with warmth and kindness. She has made such a difference for the students she supports and is a valued member of the Rafiki team.
Along with the Rafiki volunteer team, Jodie has helped to support over 1000 students since September, an absolutely phenomenal effort by her and all the Rafiki volunteers.
Rafiki is the SU’s peer support listening service. Volunteers offer support to students through an online live chat service, video call appointments, and socially distanced events on campus. You can talk to our volunteers about any issues you are facing, and they’re available if you’d just like a friendly face to chat to. Rafiki is not recruiting for volunteers at the moment, but you can express an interest in volunteering in September 2021. If you're interested in other wellbeing volunteering opportunities check out the active roles on our opportunity finder.
22nd January 2021