Skip to the main content

Ujjayanta Bhaumik, who studied Msc Computer Graphics Vision and Imaging at UCL, spoke with us about his time volunteering with Camden Council’s Coding Club and IntoUniversity. See why he loved volunteering with young people and how he managed to volunteer even as a busy master’s student. 

Tell us a little bit about your volunteering. 

I volunteered as a student mentor for IntoUniversity and a volunteer for Camden Coding Club. The IntoUniversity Volunteering scheme was a three-day summer mentoring programme that chose young students from London’s most disadvantaged areas and paired them with university students to help realise and fulfil their potential. As a university mentor, I was paired up with a school student - my job was to get to know him, share my perspective of university life and inspire him towards his goal by devising SMART targets for him.  Since it was a brief three-day session, and I discovered that both of us love mathematics, I decided to gave him lots of Mathematical Olympiad problems and tips about getting into the best schools for mathematics.

My second stint at volunteering was with Camden Coding Club, where I was a part of a group of volunteers who taught coding to young kids. We met once every month on a Saturday at Pancras Square Library and our sessions included robotics lessons, micro:bit programming, Scratch (which is an interactive and extremely friendly coding platform developed by MIT) and anything else the kids wanted to learn.

How did you find out about the roles?

I found out about both roles in the Students’ Union Volunteering website. In fact, the first time I got acquainted with UCL Volunteering Service opportunities was during the Welcome Fair. I always wanted to volunteer but time management was a big thing, especially being a master’s student. When I was free after exams and finally felt the time was right, I decided to volunteer during the summer.

Why did you want to become a volunteer?

I thought that it would be the perfect opportunity to help someone with my experience. Coming to UCL was a massive thing for me and being a master’s student, I only had one year - so I did everything! I joined the societies I wanted; I joined the institute of making and volunteered there as well; I really like being around kids. I just browsed the opportunities on the Students’ Union website and thought that the Camden Coding Club would be perfect, in fact, I wish I had joined the club a bit earlier. The Coding Club was organised inside the Pancras Square library and I remember the first day; I sat down with a young girl and helped her throughout the whole coding session which was really cool.

I can say that volunteering was easily one of my best choices at UCL.

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

I helped my mentees as much as I could in coding, maths or just being with them. When I saw the kids I worked with and showed them around UCL, alongside others, I knew it was such a big thing for them so I tried to make their experience as enjoyable as possible. Hopefully, they will remember those nice experiences and I am so glad to have been a part of it.

What impact has volunteering had on you?

I met some amazing people and made some great friends from my volunteering endeavours. I was excited when I got to mentor a school student for the first time; the fact that we spent time together solving problems and even did a presentation at the end regarding his future journey to a great mathematics school was very satisfying for me!

Personally, I love working with kids and I used to play lawn tennis with school kids when I was doing my undergraduate degree. It was great interacting with so many kids again and we had so much fun. Volunteering was one of my best experiences at UCL.

What’s the best thing about volunteering?

The best thing is that you get to interact with new people, learn from them and their perspective of doing things, make new friends and gain amazing memories.

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

Being an introvert, it was quite a challenge for me to get out of my comfort zone and be in a new environment where I didn’t know anyone and get everything going perfectly. But everyone was so welcoming that I always felt at home - rather than a challenge, it always felt like a learning curve.

Tell us about something memorable that’s happened to you whilst volunteering.

During the IntoUniversity sessions, we were told that we had to give a presentation at the end of the programme. My mentee made a colourful poster depicting his goals and takeaways from the sessions and I chipped in with some of my Origami ideas. At the end, both of us presented together, which was the best part and we got to end the sessions with a really nice party!

Would you recommend volunteering? If so, why?

I would definitely recommend volunteering - it can be really fun and relaxing. There are so many opportunities and you get to choose how you want to help someone. You get to be yourself and also make someone feel special.

If you want to make a difference like Ujjayanta, check out our volunteering directory and get started! We have a range of opportunities with a wide variety of beneficiaries, so you can choose how you want to make a change.