Cristina is a first-year student pursuing a BA degree in Media. She volunteered for the role of Video Editing Online Educational Resource for Orwell Youth Prize Entrants at The Orwell Foundation. Read on to find out more about her experience!

Tell us a little about your volunteering

I have previously participated in other types of volunteering, but this was my first time volunteering at UCL. It was I think for around two weeks where I had to put together a video of the conference that Michael Jacobs delivered about the politics surrounding the climate crisis, which was for their Orwell Youth Prize.

How did you find out about the role?

As I am a student of the Culture, Communication, and Media department, I received an email from Katrina Tung asking students to email Tabby Hayward, the programme coordinator at the Orwell Foundation, if they wanted to participate in this volunteering opportunity. So, that’s what I did. I emailed her about my video editing experience, and then she replied.

Why did you want to become a volunteer?

I always thought of volunteering as a very rewarding and amazing experience as opposed to being in a part-time job. It gives you greater flexibility and every experience is unique. You can just do one and gain various skills and get to meet different people. It also only requires a small portion of your time, which is great!

What difference do you feel you've made by volunteering?

I think my work was a small part of something big. The Orwell Foundation and Michael Jacobs are the ones who made a bigger change by making people aware of climate change and allowing young writers to share their stories. I can only hope that I was able to convey what they did and helped them reach more people.

What impact has volunteering had on you?

I think it was very convenient for me. It was a great practice for me to edit, especially as we are making a film in one of the modules I am currently taking. So, it was great to work on my video editing skills and build up my portfolio.

What's the best thing about volunteering?

The first thing that comes to my mind is meeting new people and networking. Throughout the whole journey, I've met so many people, and it was just great to hear and have a conversation with them.

And the most challenging? How did you overcome the challenges?

As what I was given to do was very straightforward, I think the only challenge I would say was the individual pressure I had put on myself. Especially since there was a deadline and the video relied on me to edit it. I just wanted to make it as best as possible. I wanted to do the best I can. To overcome it, I simply breathed and kept a positive mindset.

Tell us about something memorable that's happened to you whilst volunteering!

When you're volunteering, you don't really expect to get anything in return. Once I was done with my role, Tabby offered me books from the Orwell Foundation. She allowed me to enter her office and choose as many books as I wanted, which was incredible! I also got the chance to meet her in person, which was great, especially as we had only met online through Microsoft Teams.

Would you recommend volunteering? If so, why?

I would definitely recommend it. It's a very rewarding experience. It allows you to contribute to something great, which will make you feel good about yourself. It allows you to meet new people and gain new experiences.

"It allows you to contribute to something great, which will make you feel good about yourself"

I think everyone should try it. There are so many types of volunteering opportunities. Even if you don't have a lot of time, you can do a one-time experience that maybe lasts a week or two or even a day. You just need to search for the one that's more convenient and relates to your interests. That connects to you the most. Then you are going to put more effort and passion into it, and you will be more interested in the work you’re doing.