Extracurricular activities are as much a part of university life as going to class and socialising. The Plymouth Award is designed to recognise extracurricular achievements across five areas: personal health and wellbeing, working life, volunteering, cultural and social awareness, and supporting the University community. It rewards things you’ve already done, and drives you to achieve more and go further. You receive your award at graduation, and it looks great on the CV.
I did lots of different things for the Plymouth Award, mainly in volunteering and cultural and social awareness:
I volunteered at a local horticultural therapy centre where I had previously had a placement. I enjoyed my time there so much as a student that I spent one day a week supporting service users and harvesting vegetables over the summer. Crop Gardens is an amazing place and was recently featured on BBC Spotlight!
I also did some voluntary work with friends from my cohort, raising money for the Cavell Nurses’ Trust through sweepstakes and bake sales, and we raised nearly £350! It was also a great bonding experience, and brought us closer together as friends.
Plus, we got our angel wings as a thank you from Cavell, a lovely reminder when I wear my lanyard.
I also volunteered with the University of Plymouth Student Minds society.
Best of all, the hours I racked up made me eligible for the Student Union’s 50 Hours Award!
In terms of cultural and social awareness, I’m a big fan of writing (as you might be able to tell!) so my credits in this category came from publications. One of my favourites was a piece about my own experiences with depression that was published in the Sunday Telegraph’s Stella magazine.
Another favourite was a reflective piece I wrote about an experience I had on placement as part of my course, which was printed in the Nursing Standard, a major British nursing journal.
I would encourage anybody to engage with the Plymouth Award: there’s lots of time to complete it, and you can even get recognition for things you’ve already done. And sometimes it’s nice to widen your world and have a change of scenery from lecture theatres and hospital wards!
You can find out more about the Plymouth Award here: https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/student-life/your-studies/plymouth-award