Exploring the experiences of student engagement of a final year social science student in the role of coordinator for Sheffield Nightline during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This paper explores my personal and academic experiences during the COVID-19 Pandemic as a final year social science student completing an empirical dissertation, and the coordinator for Sheffield Nightline - a student-run listening service similar to the Samaritans. The coordinator’s responsibilities involve managing volunteers, stakeholders, and recruitment. My experiences as a student and as coordinator helped me to develop skills in empathy, remote learning, motivation, and productivity. The pandemic presented challenges for me as a student, e.g., waiting for library books to be posted, Wi-Fi issues, challenges engaging in online seminars and emotional stresses from the pandemic, and for Nightline, e.g., converting the service to a remote working platform and to online training, providing support for volunteers and dealing with funding cuts. There were also unexpected positive consequences of the pandemic, for example as a student; I improved my time efficiency, found it easier to recruit dissertation participants, experienced more accessible learning and improved my ability to balance responsibilities. For Nightline, there were higher volunteer applications and improved stakeholder connectivity. Overall, using critical reflection techniques I learnt during my Criminology & Psychology course, this paper provides a comprehensive and candid insight into a students’ and leaders’ experience during the pandemic.
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