By Beth Clark
Have you ever seen people in brightly coloured t-shirts around uni? If you have, then you will know that they are part of the student ambassador scheme. This is where you can represent the university at open days and events, including reassuring possible students about life at university, as well as helping them gain more insight into the course they are considering taking. I became an ambassador just over a year ago and it has been a wonderful experience and opportunity.
I will admit that it initially was a daunting experience. I worked my first open day when I had been at uni roughly 3 weeks and was told I would be giving directions. This, as you can imagine, proved quite a challenge considering I was still trying to find my own way around ARU. I was terrified; the thought of having to speak to loads of people you don’t know is a scary thing. However, once you get into the flow of things it becomes easier – just like any job. The most enjoyable thing about working an open day or other events, is seeing the students who you spoke to around uni when the new year starts. You know then that you may have made a difference to that specific person when it came to picking which university they wanted to go to.
Being an ambassador has helped me to develop a person, I’ve been able to pick up new skills and develop those I already possessed. Most of these are transferable skills which I can use in everyday life as well. This especially includes situations such as when it comes to doing presentations. I get less nervous due to the ambassador scheme, as I have become more familiar with talking to large groups of people. I can definitely say that it is a challenge, most of the students and parents that you speak to will make a decision because of the open day they went to. Just like any job you have problems you need to solve. Giving a campus tour would be a classic example, it is extremely difficult to keep the whole group interested when there are many different age groups to cater to. But challenging yourself is the perfect way to overcome these issues and familiarise yourself with on the spot problem-solving.
It is a job that works around your life at uni, you can pick when you work and how often, and believe it or not we do in fact get paid. It is an invaluable experience that I would recommend to anyone.
Image Credit: Beth Clark