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Do Something Different

Posted on 22 Feb 2017

The Durham bubble. We’ve all felt it at some point – that moment when essays are due, your housemates haven’t done the dishes, you haven’t been home in 8 weeks and then you bump into your ex at a nightclub for the third time that week. It’s just so small. But it doesn’t have to be.

For me, I need an escape from it all. Once a week, I head down to Hild Bede East gym to box with people recovering from drug addictions. It is more about punching bags than actual boxing, but for that hour I am chatting, jumping, squatting and running with people. They are so friendly and, with a bit of encouragement, keen to get involved. It is great fun, and obviously quite tiring!

I hate the word volunteering. We’ve all heard the clichés: “volunteering is fun”, “volunteering gives back to the community”, “volunteering is great for the CV”. I don’t feel I volunteer when I go to boxing – I’m there to meet people, get fit and maybe help with the clear up. And that goes for any projects that I have gone to, from Tea Parties with the elderly to playing darts with people who have learning disabilities at GOALs; although maybe less of the getting fit there! For me, volunteering is more about sharing conversations with interesting people from interesting backgrounds.

I also feel that the word volunteering is sometimes put on a pedestal as some great selfless act. It is so much simpler than that. It is people giving up a bit of their time for others. It doesn’t have to be a lot, and it certainly can be to a mutual benefit. And that’s the point – I wouldn’t go to boxing if I didn’t enjoy it.

This week is Student Volunteering Week. Yes, we’re all busy. Yes, we’ve all got deadlines. Even the Fresher’s have found the library (or maybe just The Library). But we can all find that hour in our schedule to do something different. With a full week of different volunteering projects open to try, there genuinely is no excuse. This year, SCA Volunteering is running various “Give-It-A-Go” project sessions – ones that you can just drop in on and see if you like it. Just do it and see what you think. One thing is for certain, you’ll enjoy getting out of the Durham bubble.

Harry Over

Harry is a Durham University student who volunteers with Community Action who volunteers with people recovering from drug addictions.

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