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Rachael: A student's perspective

This summer I signed up for the LIFT OFF 2 Success (LO2S) summer residential. In the past I had enjoyed participating in the LIFT OFF workshops and thought that it would be a great opportunity to do paid work with the same kind of pupils. The pupils were aged between 14 and 15, and we, as LIFT OFF Students, were each responsible for a small group of them (approximately 8). We were with them during all of the different daily activities, visiting different universities and colleges, where they participated in taster sessions on a wide range of courses. Even though the pupils in my group were from a variety of different backgrounds, we all bonded really well and there was a great sense of team spirit. I really enjoyed being able to use my personal enthusiasm for university life in order to give first hand advice about university and college.

There were a wide range of taster sessions which we attended from philosophy to hair dressing to golf studies.  These were incredibly informative, not only for the pupils but also for the students! As well as visiting different universities and colleges in the surrounding area, we were able to  take part in loads of fun activities every evening, such as bowling, a ghost tour, quizzes and a trip to the beach. LO2S, as well as being loads of fun, was also a lot of hard work.... In the mornings we had to get up really early in order to bang on the doors of somewhat bleary eyed pupils. At times like these it could be difficult to stay energetic and enthusiastic, especially towards the end of the week when we were all pretty tired. The effort however was definitely worth it, especially when you saw how much the pupils benefited from individual contact with ‘real’ students.

LO2S provided a fantastic opportunity for me to work alongside inspirational LIFT OFF leaders and fellow students from different universities. I was also able to gain experience working with young people, developing key skills whilst really enjoying myself. It was amazing to see the enthusiasm and ambitions that the residential generated in the pupils involved, and it was great to know that I had contributed personally to this experience. I would definitely encourage anyone wanting to work with children or young people in the future, or indeed anyone looking for an interesting and worthwhile summer job to get involved with LIFT OFF. LO2S was an invaluable experience for me and I would do it again without hesitation (even taking into account the early mornings!). 

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rachel, LIFT OFF student volunteer