“CEN8 has so many niches if you can’t find yours, create your own.”
In this mini-series, we focus on student volunteers and their experience with CEN8. Thomas, Admin and Management volunteer, talks to us about psychology research, creating opportunities and getting an insight into law.
Finding your niche
Psychology student, Thomas, fell into becoming a CEN8 volunteer when he was waiting to talk to a Careers Consultant in the SPACE.
“I first found out about CEN8 when I was volunteering in Welcome Week. I went into the SPACE and I was waiting to talk to the careers people about something to do with law. Gill (CEN8 Director) was there and she asked if I’d ever considered CEN8. I said, I’ve got an interest in law and she said, ok, we’ll work something out and sure enough, here I am pursuing copyright law of all things which is strange to think about but that’s the versatility of CEN8 that it not only allows you to find your niche but if you can’t find one, to create your own.”
Real word experience
CEN8’s approach is to support students in finding areas of the organisation that they are interested in and feel they can contribute to. Thomas has been able to pursue his interest in law at CEN8 as part of his Admin and Management volunteer role.
“For a while I’ve had an interest in law but to study law in reference to real world applications is something I didn’t think I would be doing at university. My role at CEN8 has really broadened, not only with what I thought I would be doing, but also regarding my interest in law in general. It’s really helped me to clarify what the legal system is and how the law works really from basic things like looking for resources to do with law. I’ve had to scour the internet and I think I’m getting a little better at it now.”
Developing responsibility and work place skills
The transition from school to university brings its challenges – most notably, the freedom and lack of structure. Thomas reflects on how CEN8 has helped in this process.
“Working with CEN8, they really have an onus on you taking responsibility for your own work. Going hand in hand with my degree, it’s really taught me a lot basic things like time management for instance.
Time management has always been a bit of an issue for me, particularly at A-levels, but now I am at university and I have this freedom and with that freedom comes with it the assumption that I will be getting on with it. It’s the kind of skill I’m going to need if I ever want a job and if I ever want to keep a job.”
Why get involved? CEN8 will make room for you
If you are thinking of volunteering, there are some great benefits to getting involved with CEN8.
“CEN8 is not just about working with disadvantaged children to give them a creative outlet, there is so much more behind the scenes. We’ve got an admin team which wasn’t here last year and that sprang up because last year students were volunteering and they didn’t have anywhere they thought they’d be and so CEN8 made room for them.”
The rest of Thomas’ year is about finishing up projects and getting ready for his next and final year.
“Finishing my mini project will be a nice one considering that will be a compulsory piece of work. For my final project I should be having data collection in the summer which means that I can come into my next academic year with at least some kind of leg up. I think if I finish 2017 and I have found out that my choices for my third year modules are making me happy and I have some data for my final project, I’ll call this year a success.”
CEN8 is a community interest company based at Goldsmiths. Led by a team of professional artists and student volunteers, CEN8 delivers creative after school activities at Goldsmiths for local young people aged 7 – 18 years.