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“I think volunteering is such a good idea because you meet so many different people with interesting stories and from all walks of life.

Patrice Baptiste graduated from her medical degree at UCL in 2013. During her time here, she was involved as a volunteer in a variety of roles, from charity shops to teaching first aid in schools. She recently talked to us about how she’s carried on with her volunteering, and how her experiences at UCL have proved useful in her career.

Where are you currently working and/or volunteering?

I work part time as doctor and volunteer with local schools, helping students who want to pursue a career in medicine. I do this by speaking to students one to one as well as participating in mock interviews and arranging a number of career talks about medicine (and other disciplines). I also volunteer as a director appointee for a local primary school and as an alumni member for the UCL Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) committee.

What useful skills and experiences did you gain as a volunteer when you were at UCL?

I really improved my communication skills- from speaking to elderly customers to young children. I was able to adapt quite quickly and relate to individuals from all walks of life. I also became a lot more independent; I learned to rely on myself more and make more decisions on my own. I also learnt how to work effectively within a team as well as developing my patience and listening skills.

How has volunteering helped you in your career so far?

As a doctor you don’t stop communicating! Both written and spoken communication is essential. Being able to document clearly and speak to people in a way that they can understand is so crucial - often there is a lot of medical jargon we have to essentially translate so patients and their relatives can make informed decisions about their care.

I am constantly making decisions on my own all the time, from working during a busy twelve hour shift, to managing a patient on my ward. Volunteering has helped me to trust myself and to rely on my own initiative.

Developing team working skills has also helped me work with different teams on a daily basis. We move around a lot as doctors so it’s important we work well with the new teams we meet.

What would you say to UCL students considering whether or not to volunteer?

I think volunteering is such a good idea because you meet so many different people with interesting stories and from all walks of life. You develop the ability to engage and interact with people. It’s important to remember that there are many different volunteering opportunities, from fundraising to befriending to working in an elderly care home. You not only develop as a person without even realising it but you are able to give so much back to so many different people.

Giving you time through volunteering is just as important as donating money to various causes. Sometimes all people need is your time.

Read more about Patrice’s work in schools

Interested in volunteering? Here’s how you can get started.

Read more stories from our alumni