Salman Shaheen is a Volunteer Coordinator for King’s Peer Support. The programme, run by the King’s counselling team, trains students to offer support and encouragement to their peers on a day-to-day basis throughout their time at university.
How did you choose this volunteering role specifically?
Within my own circle of friends, I'm typically someone who people go to for advice or for a heart-to-heart chat and I am not really sure how that came to be the case (it must be something I'm doing!) So when I read an email saying King's Peer Support needed volunteers, I figured I could learn how I should be doing what I was, in a way, already doing.
What do you enjoy about volunteering for King’s Peer Support?
The thing about being a Peer Supporter is that it’s very much something we do every day with the people close to us in our lives. That same sort of energy when you’re talking to friends exists within King's Peer Support and that's what is most enjoyable - you realise how much you can help support someone by just being yourself.
What’s been your favourite memory of volunteering?
One of the events the Law School was running needed a couple of Peer Supporters to put on the Reggie the Lion costume and walk around giving hugs to law students. Being a law student myself, a lot of the people were able to guess who it was under the costume from my mannerisms. You could feel the overall energy of people around get uplifted by a little laughter (and maybe an accidental whack in the head with the lion's snout).
What have you learnt from volunteering?
To take the words of a song slightly out of context, 'everybody needs somebody sometime'. One of the things I've learnt is that even those of us who can seem to 'have it all together' can still need someone there for them and any one of us could be that person they look for.
What would you say to anyone thinking of taking part in volunteering?
Whether you get an opportunity to volunteer in a formal position or one that is more easy going, definitely give it a shot! You learn more about yourself than you'd think and it's truly a rewarding experience. You'd be surprised how many institutions rely on volunteers to function and how much help a little bit of work or effort can be.
To find out more about how you can become a King’s Peer Supporter click here.
To nominate a student for volunteer of the month click here.