I started studying Media and Journalism at Northumbria University in 2016 and got involved through the Northumbria Sport programme in 2017 – working with the Team Northumbria media team and Northumberland County Football Association. During this time I have built up a valuable 180 hours of work experience to showcase on my academic record.
Starting back at where it all began, coming out of sixth form and then going to university at Northumbria I was a really shy kid, I’d never push myself, even academically, and would just get by from doing the bare minimum and staying well within my comfort zone. But there’s a saying in the North East which is; ‘shy bairns get nowt’ – and it couldn’t be more true!
In February last year I really wanted to break out of my shell, get more involved, and feel a part of what the university was doing. So I signed up through the Northumbria Sport volunteering website, which showcases all of the opportunities available, and applied to work as an events volunteer with Northumberland FA.
I had a discussion with the managers at the organisation and explained that I wanted to work in the media when I graduated. In spring, I was given the responsibility to control the whole social media output around the county cup finals and write match reports which helped me build a solid portfolio of work.
This leads me onto the current academic year where I challenged myself to do more and managed to secure a spot on the Team Northumbria media team as well as being invited back by Northumberland FA for their 2017/18 events.
As an aspiring sports journalist, working with Team Northumbria has been pivotal in my personal development as a writer and has developed my interviewing technique by talking to many different personalities across the sports teams at Northumbria University.
Throughout these 12 months I’d say I’m a completely different person to what I was when I started (in a good way). I’d consider myself to be confident in my ability and ten times more social than I once was.
Low and behold, by doing all of this extra volunteering work this year, I have recently had meetings with Northumberland FA about working for them part time in my final year starting in September. I credit all of this to putting in the hours with Northumbria Sport.
Volunteering is sometimes seen as unpaid work, but when you are participating in something you really love it becomes a hobby, which also looks fantastic on your CV! I’d recommend volunteering to anyone wanting to get a head start before graduation, a foot in the door of their chosen industry, or even just to break out of your comfort zone.