February 1, 2019, by Issy
My Top 3 things about being a Summer School Ambassador
In 2018, I worked as a UoN Summer School ambassador for 2 weeks, based at Florence Boot Hall on University Park Campus. It was an experience I’m so glad I was lucky enough to be a part of, and I think would be right up there with my favourite things I’ve done at university so far.
Thinking of my favourite things about the job, there were so many things I could have possibly chosen from, but, from my experience, 3 aspects of the 2 weeks really stood out for me.
1) Meeting so many likeminded people
The university is such a huge place, and when I started first year in 2017, I was, like so many others, overwhelmed with the number of different people and personalities I was faced with within my halls, course and societies.
So, when I turned up to my first day as being a summer school ambassador at the end of 1styear, I was understandably concerned that I would have yet more people and personalities to get to know. However, by the first evening, sat around eating pizza together, it was like we had all known each other for years – every ambassador was open minded, conscientious and just as willing to get to know each other as I had hoped.
Throughout the weeks, our friendships blossomed and strengthened, and some of the best friends I have made at university are those I met at summer school, without a doubt. Spending so much time together meant that I found I could just relax and be myself, and there would always be someone around to chat to, relax with after a long day, or even go to the gym with in our spare time (sometimes. You could substitute ‘gym’ for ‘get food’ and it would still be just as accurate.)
Well into my second year now, my housemate is someone I got to know on Summer School, and we constantly share anecdotal experiences of the weeks together, and often meet the other ambassadors (even those who have now graduated!) in town, or on campus to catch up. It’s a lovely little summer school community. (and, yes, this is Nottingham, so of course we have a Summer School Society!)
2) Sharing my enthusiasm and experience
I love being at university, and I love my course – I’m a medical student. Throughout our time on summer school, we were actively encouraged from Day 1 to show off every aspect of the university, from the sports facilities to the lecture theatres. I found that having boundless energy for everything and everything was the way forward – to get both the participants as enthusiastic for what lies ahead as possible, and also to get myself and my fellow ambassadors through the days!
I loved being able to honestly and confidently answer questions about my course, and help the participants decide what was best for them – I was struck by how inspirational the participants themselves were: driven to perform and achieve, so much so that it definitely changed my attitude towards academic work for the better this year. So, although this point is about how much I enjoyed sharing my own enthusiasm and experience, it must be said that it is so much the other way around too – sharing in the experience and drive of the Year 12’s on the summer school. It really made me feel what I was doing for 2 weeks of my own summer holiday was worthwhile.
3) The ability to continue offering support
One of the most unique aspects of this summer school ambassador work compared to other ambassador jobs I have done was that, through a moderated online platform, I became a ‘mentor’ to 9 of the students who participated on the strand I worked on during the summer school.
This has meant that I have been able to see first-hand how much of an impact the summer school experience has had on the participants and their journey onto whichever pathway in life they choose for themselves, whether it be university, an apprenticeship, or anything else. They know I am only a message away to offer support, advice and guidance in regard to their journey through Y13 – and this is a real privilege for me to be able to do. Sometimes I read personal statements, and offer advice on them (we were trained in how to do this prior to starting the summer school work), and sometimes, it’s just to listen to how they feel about their exams, and empathise with them, as they go through the process I remember all too well.
My summer school experience was amazing, I loved it so much – as has literally everyone I have met who worked on one as well, genuinely. I could go on and on about it (and my housemates know, I often do!). It’s such a unique opportunity, and I hope to be able to do it all over again this summer.
Applications to be a 2019 ambassador close on the 11th February at 12pm. https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/currentstudents/studentopportunities/working-with-young-people/summer-school-ambassadors.aspx