Hannah Francis talks about how her student ambassador role aids her studies
Hannah Francis (front row, third from left) is about to start her third year as a student on the History, Literature and Culture degree.
She has been a Student Recruitment and Outreach (SRO) ambassador , working with the Widening Participation team since the start of the second year. We asked Hannah to reflect on the role and how it supports her learning.
“When I first started uni, like any other student, I felt pretty intimidated by the new level of independence I had to acquire – moving away from home and having to stand on your own two feet isn’t always the easiest task – but becoming an ambassador and essentially being a representative of my university truly steadied the process of growing up. As a History, Literature and Culture student, I am actively carrying out presentations and engaging in debates stretching across all topics of the area of Humanities, and at times it can be tough to maintain confidence in front of fellow students and your lecturers every week. The way in which I am graded for each module is partly based upon my seminar performances, and how my contributions about our lectures and reading affect the flow of discussion. Sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated and actively contribute, but having been an ambassador since the start of my second year, I’ve learnt how to communicate confidently within my seminar group and have faith in my own arguments.
Becoming an ambassador enabled me to gain a set of skills that I could apply not just to my working life, but to my university experience as a whole.
As ambassadors, we apply for all kinds of work – be that working as mentors for primary school children, leading our own lessons with future students, working at Open days/evenings, being part of student panels answering frequently-asked and unique questions about the transition to university and more. The multiple roles we fill set us up with the ability to deliver, with confidence, our own personalised take on what it means to be a student and how to get involved. Becoming a part of the ambassador team has shown me that the workplace and being independent should be about your progression as a student, an adult, a team worker, an as a friend.
The picture above is from my most recent venture as an ambassador – the Humanities summer school. This four-day residential that ran in early July gave prospective college students the chance to see what it’s like to study at university level, be part of the student body and what it’ like to live independently. For all of us ambassadors, this residential was an experience in which we learnt to work as individual leaders but come together as a team and even forge friendships! Furthermore, the way in which our students were able to engage with taster seminars and lectures, and the way in which they went from being mostly strangers to becoming fellow students was amazing to see. From our Campus tours on the first day to creative writing activities and Philosophy sessions, the students we worked with seemed to enjoy the experience of uni, but, more importantly, the way in which these experiences can be shared.
The impact we have as ambassadors makes these experiences for everyone we work with really relatable and I feel that as students ourselves, we can put the transition from college, a gap year, etc to university at ease.”
By Hannah Francis
The Widening Participation team usually recruit new SRO Ambassadors twice a year. Ambassadors receive training and are paid for the work they do.