By Carole Reniero, Head Coach 2017
When I was 18 years old, in my last year of high school, I decided that I was going to take a social anthropology degree at university. However, I did not know where my university studies would take me, who I would meet along the way, and above all, where I was going to be in 10 years. Everything was sort of unknown, exciting... and scary. Moving to London was difficult, but I eventually learned to cherish the lively, multicultural feel of the city.
Nonetheless, there are certain aspects of university that have been quite stressful to deal with. There are always many assignments to complete, essays to write, new people to meet and socialize with, and career events to go to. I am constantly being asked: ‘So where is your degree going to take you?’ or ‘Where do you see yourself in 10 years?’. At the LSE, the majority of students read economics, finance or law degrees. And an even wider majority already knows what their future holds after they graduate from university. I am not and have never been a member of that majority. At the end of my first year, I realized I did not want to become an anthropologist, despite finding the subject fascinating to study. I have always been drawn to the world of education, but I did not really know where to start looking for opportunities.
At the start of my second year, I explored new opportunities outside of my studies. Firstly, I volunteered for a charity named ReachOut, where I mentored a young girl in developing confidence in her academic work, as well as exercising self-control, fairness and good judgement with other people. It was a beautiful, challenging experience that greatly improved my communication skills. Because of this, I decided to pursue my interest in education and social mobility by applying to be a coach at CoachBright. Here, I discovered the differences between being a mentor and a coach; one of which is that a coach asks questions but should never give the answers, whereas a mentor may do so. CoachBright was one of the best opportunities that came knocking on my door at university. It helped me to further discover what I was truly passionate about! And more generally, working for charities and youth as a volunteer opened an important door to understanding what I now want to do with my future. It has helped me to develop vital life skills like communication, organization, patience, and resilience.
By taking some time off each week doing something different, volunteering has helped me to go through some tough times. So, to whoever is reading this: volunteer! At least once during your studies. Try something new, discover your interests and passions and learn new skills. Not only can it distract you from many sources of stress and boredom, but it will also help you discover where you ‘fit’ best and for some, where you truly belong.