Hi everyone, I want to continue updating information about my university life via volunteering activities that I did this year. Previously, my last post shares my studying progress – units, results and the way that I study to achieve my current GPA. In this post, I am going to share my volunteering experience this year – activities, achievements, lessons, and thoughts.
1. Activities, achievements, and lessons
I was in charge of two volunteering roles this year.
- President at Vietnamese International Student at Swinburne (VISS) club.
- Volunteer at Strategies for Success (FSET) at Swinburne University.
For the second role, it was just a one-day event where I shared my learning experience to first-year students. Also, I helped organizers to arrange food space where attendees could grab some food after the event. With this role, I observed how organizers held the information session event so that I could apply it to my club.
For the first role, it was a yearly role which I spent a year managing the club. Honestly, this was my first time being a leader of a university’s club, so I suffered many failures. However, I met many people, learned lots of things and achieved what I expected. With this role, I did many things related to different aspects to maintain and develop a club. Especially, managing people to work together was one of the most important things. Also, I encouraged my team to try something new which benefits the community. As a result, many new events occurred this year.
- Celebrating the Year of the Pig 2019 at Swinburne University: This was the first new event that my club co-hosted with 5 other clubs at Swinburne University. This event attracted hundreds of students that day and we were happy about that. By doing this event, I encouraged my team to learn how other clubs run the event and how we did the collaboration with others. This might benefit our knowledge as well as our experience. I did learn many things from the planning stage to the executing stage of the event. One of the most important things I learned was the way we addressed conflicts in communication. Also, I learned the working process between the university, food providers and clubs which helped my club in the further run.
- Welcome BBQ – Semester 2: This is not the new event since it is one of the semesterly events which gather people for the meetup. However, the way that we organized the event was new. We used a food event to engage people coming to the meetup. Then, each person in my team was in charge of a particular role. The most important role is called connector who groups attendees and engage them to talk in random topics. We tried our best to keep the conversation as long as possible so that attendees couldn’t feel bored and alone during the event. It was a great experience when we tried something new and it worked well.
- IT networking party: This is one of the new events where we gather people in a particular field. The idea for the event is that we wanted to connect experienced people to non-experienced people so that they could learn from each other. Also, we wanted to see how attractive the networking party is for our club members. As expected, the event was not very attractive for our club members since this was a brand new event and we had not built the culture before. However, the event was very informative and inspiring with two special guest speakers. By doing this event, I believe that this type of event will attract and help many people if we – the next generation – continue on building the culture.
There were many other small and medium events but I learned important lessons from three events above. As a leader of the club, I feel the club is getting better even we suffered many failures related to people, communication, experience, etc. All of my achievements came from what I learned and the people I met along the way.
There are a few thoughts that I gained from the volunteering experience.
- To discover new things, we sometimes need to accept the loss.
- We should rate the success of the event is on how much we help attendees, not on how many attendees coming to the event.
- The hardest part of being a leader is doing it well.
- The failure is a great opportunity to learn, but we should not make it without intention.
- We should keep listening until we feel that it is the right time to make a decision.
Overall, I had a great volunteering experience this year. I plan to do volunteering for different aspects next year so that I can improve my experience and also meet more people in different fields.
Thank you for reading!