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An incredible journey of volunteering and global learning

GLPer Jessica Compton has recently completed all her program requirements and finished up her Macquarie degree and is set to graduate in 2015. Below is Jessica’s reflection on the transformative experiences of her six years in the GLP….

In a society where many people have a degree or two, we need that extra edge to prop us up above other prospective candidates to get those dream jobs. I’ve been told that volunteering is that extra edge. But I think it can be so much more than boosting a career – it can be life changing.

I started volunteering as a school kid, well before it was a cool thing to do, and back when it was just called ‘helping out’. It’s now a way for me to both learn and contribute, and thanks to GLP, it’s also a way to distinguish myself as a global minded citizen on my formal academic record.

Beyond volunteering, GLP’s Colloquia events and the Distinguished Speaker Series have added an avenue for further learning outside of my degrees and given me a chance to meet like-minded people. In recognition of the end of my time with GLP, I will take you through some of my GLP highlights.

GLPer Jessica Compton volunteering with Villawood Vollies at the Villawood Detention Centre.

Villawood Immigration Detention Centre In my first year at MQU, I initiated Villawood Vollies, a volunteer program promoting health and wellbeing in Villawood Immigration Detention Centre. I have been directing this organisation (as a volunteer) since 2009. The people I have met, the skills I have developed, the tears and laughter that have transpired, have all amounted to a journey so profound that it has shaped who I am today.

Christmas Island

During a colloquium event on International Humanitarian Law, I met a new lifelong friend, Rob. During the session he told me about a volunteering opportunity on Christmas Island where we ended up spending a month delivering programs and workshops to people seeking asylum through the Australian Government. During the month, we gained so much knowledge, understanding, humanity, and a deep care and respect for one another and for those seeking protection in Australia. Thanks Rob!

India I carried out my psychology placement in India for a month with Pravah, a not-for-profit working on youth citizen engagement. It was an incredible experience learning about Indian culture and forming some special bonds with my fellow Mac Uni peers.

PACE students volunteering in India.

LEAP Mentoring Two very special things happened while volunteering with LEAP. Firstly, the students I got to mentor were boys from Iran that I had met on Christmas Island when they first came to Australia! It was incredible to see them settled into the community and getting an education. Secondly, I made a very good friend in another GLP student, a friendship that I hope to treasure for a long time.

Professional Development

Colloquium series

These seminars have been a great addition to university life. I have integrated many key lessons into my personal and professional life. For example, during my Health Placement at Ku-ring-gai Council delivering health and wellbeing workshops to high school students, I incorporated concepts and activities from the design thinking session; Insight to Innovation: Using Design Thinking to Solve Wicked Problems and the Climate Change – Leading for the future session.

Distinguished Speaker Series These events have been the cream on the top of my GLP experience. I particularly loved the speeches by Waleed Aly and the Honourable Michael Kirby, but I have enjoyed and been inspired by all of the incredible speakers that have been freely delivered to us for the past 5 years. There are so many golden nuggets in the speeches, I’ve found it impossible not to take down notes.

So to conclude, I’m sad to be graduating and leaving everything GLP has freely offered. Thank you for an incredible experience and a multitude of wonderful life changing opportunities.

Jessica Compton has been in the GLP since 2009 and recently completed the Program requirements along with her concurrent degrees of Bachelor of Arts, Psychology and Bachelor of Health. All photos are credited to Jessica Compton.

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