Remember what it was like when you were at the College of West Anglia? If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice about learning or planning for the future, what would it be? Is there anything you would say to encourage yourself to work harder, or have more confidence in your abilities? Did you overcome any hurdles to get where you are today?
We’re betting the answer is yes.
The fact that you have stood in the shoes of our current students and come out the other side with a qualification under your belt and gone on to employment or further study means you have the experience needed to encourage and support our current students.
An inspiring story doesn’t have to mean acts of heroism and phenomenal success. We need our alumni to speak to our students on a real and practical level to assure them that what they are doing is worthwhile and that getting their college qualification is possible.
Here are a few things to think about to help you realise your own inspiring story and prepare you for speaking to our students.
If you want to connect with our students your story needs to be believable and attainable. We want our students to realise that success is achievable through hard work and ambition, not give them a rose-tinted view. Authenticity means being honest about what it takes to be successful, there’s a lot of hard work involved, but also that the rewards are worth it. Be realistic and pragmatic and you will be much more likely to connect with your audience.
Show that you understand your audience. You have the advantage of having once been in our current students’ shoes and looking back on your experiences to learn from them. Show our students that you have this knowledge, and you won’t fail to inspire them. Think about what they need to hear or what you wish you had known when you were studying. Were there any positive or negative aspects of your current jobs that you weren’t expecting but were pleasantly surprised by? Do you wish you’d taken advantage of certain parts of your course? Or did you hear a great piece of advice that inspired you and feel our students need to hear it too?
Put things into perspective
You might think that our students have got the message by now – work hard, get good grades and you’ll find success. But it’s not always as simple as that. Some of our alumni know that not everything always goes to plan and life gets in the way. If you had to overcome any hurdles to get where you are today, you could be an inspiration to our students. If you had an experience which made you change your goals completely and start a new journey, that’s an inspiring story too. Whatever their circumstances, they need to know that success is possible and you might be the right person to make them realise it.
Find out more about how you can volunteer to share your story here.