My name is Harene and I am currently a year 11 student going into year 12 this September. As well as being an aspiring medic, I have been leading a project in collaboration with medic mentor alongside 22 other volunteers. The project involved delivering 1-hour revision webinars giving guidance for year 9-11 students and s3- s4 students on how they can best revise effectively for the next academic year. In this blog post I aim not just to reflect on my personal experience but also provide some tips on how you can start your own project.
So, what is this project exactly? I wanted to give GCSE/Nat 5 students a useful and interactive resource where they will get some valuable advice on how they can move on to the next academic year. I also wanted it to be based on a student’s personal experience with a focused insight on how students can hone their revision techniques. These webinars also provided specific resources such as useful online links for each of the subjects that they are taking. During the lockdown period I have also been watching many online events myself to prepare for A levels, and get an insight into the medical career. This was highly beneficial for me. Putting myself in the shoes of a year 9/10 student I realised that they would benefit from similar resources where they will gain valuable guidance and general tips on how they can best revise.
Initially I had to collect volunteers who will be willing to help with these webinars which I was able to do by advertising the project to my friends and also to VMS members. Once I managed to do this, I conducted a short introductory meeting through zoom where we discussed our initial ideas and tweaked some of the objectives. Finally, I set a deadline for all the presentations to be sent as well setting up a senior team so that tasks can be delegated efferently. When starting this project, I wasn’t clear of the way we should monitor the project and the steps we need to take to execute the ideas we had. Despite this with the help of the other ambitious volunteers we were able to organise all our ideas and carry out the webinars with the best quality as possible.
In terms of the actual execution of the webinars, which took place across the month of June, we had to ensure that all presenters understood the software, what they had to do on the day and also were confident in presenting. With the help of the senior team we were able to create a google spreadsheet checking who will be moderating the webinar, who will be running the rehearsals and giving feedback to the presenters and a simple way to track each of the webinars.
After having completed the webinar I feel that this process was successful as we were able to create high quality webinars with a lack of technical difficulties. Additionally, we received positive feedback students about the webinars and had the opportunity to answer personal questions which students had.
During this process there were many skills I built. Firstly, I had to build time management skills because all the volunteers were dedicating their time to the project but also had their own commitments. Therefore, during the process, I had to be able to fit in the tasks we had planned for other people’s commitments as well as my own. Secondly it helped build my leadership skills as I had to lead a group of 22 volunteers and guide them through the tasks making sure they are carried out to the best of their abilities. Furthermore, I have built public speaking and presentation skills as I had to present into a group of budding and ambitious students. Considering the skills, I have built I am certain that this will be an invaluable experience for me as these are skills that I will be able to actively apply being a medical student and a doctor in a hospital.
Tips for starting your own project
Now that I have given you an insight into the project that I did I hope I will be able to give you a few tips on how you can start you own project whether it be a service that you want to deliver or an event you want to run.
1. In terms of finding team members I suggest that you contact as many people as you can. In terms of building a team try and build a diverse team of people of different backgrounds. Try to also match people and their characteristics to the specific roles required for your project. During this time, you should have a clear idea on what your main aims and objectives are and be ready to discuss them with your team so that you will be able to adapt and adjust them over time.
2. In terms of organising your time you can either use of paper to do list or online apps such as Evernote for managing tasks that you will have to carry out. In my opinion I found it useful to try and place these tasks into my daily routine balancing the project out with my daily commitments. If there are simply too many tasks for you to carry by yourself delegate tasks amongst your team members; setting a deadline will also be useful. As a team leader however you will have to check up on these deadlines and see if the tasks are carried out to an appropriate standard.
3. In terms of teamwork be willing to except other peoples ideas and take them into account. If there are concerns your team members may have be ready answer them and make room for as much discussion as you can. One thing that I usually did was thank my team members for the contributions that they have made as they have committed their time to ask questions and also play an active role in the project.
4. In terms of executing the idea organise your time. If it is a long-term project before hand ensure everyone has a clear understanding on what they have to do during the time period. Update everyone on their tasks on a weekly/daily basis. As a team leader you should be present so that you can monitor the progress with this project. Google sheets is an example of something you could possibly use to monitor all tasks.
5. Finally, be confident in your idea and try your best and persevere! There may be times where you may lack confidence, or you may be feeling apprehensive about the whole process. Ask for help when you need it and even ask for advice from your team members as 10 heads are always better than one.
My final conclusion
To conclude I believe that starting my own project has been an invaluable experience for me as I have been able to build many skills which I previously didn’t have a chance to build on, make many friends during the process and be part of a highly rewarding experience. If you have any small idea you would like to execute I would recommend starting a project and not question your gut feeling. I hope you have enjoyed reading about my experience but may have inspired a few of the readers to start their own project. Finally, I would like to use this opportunity to thank all the team members who helped make this possible: Anaïs, Alisha T, Maheen, Catlin, Martin, Aaiysha, Tanisia, Alisha T, Hafsa, Esha, Lara, Rittaj, Sanshika, Shakira, Shraddha, Emily, Alisha H and of course the Medic Mentor Team!
Written By Harene Eleyathamby – Year 11