Katie Beckwith, an NCS graduate from County Durham, tells us about her NCS experience and overcoming fears in the beautiful Lake District. What’s more, Katie reveals her exciting future plans – read all about it!
When I first heard about NCS, I was a very introverted person. The thought of meeting and socialising with new people was enough to make me never want to leave my room again. So, I stayed in my comfort zone and didn’t go on the summer NCS programme, despite a nagging voice at the back of my head telling me I should just try it. But a few of my friends really came into themselves because of NCS, and convinced me to sign up to the autumn programme.
The first time I met everyone in my team, I was so surprised at how nice they all were, I wondered why I’d been so stubborn about joining in the first place. I don’t think I could have met a better group of people to experience it all with. Jumping off waterfalls, climbing mountains and exploring caves were just a few of the activities we took part in during our residential, whilst taking in the stunning views of the Lake District with all the autumnal colours – it gave me the opportunity to take some awesome photos of the scenery. Facing each challenge thrown at us with building enthusiasm, we quickly became a very tight knit group.
The positive spirit of our team carried on into Phase 2, where we had to do workshops concerning our local area and discuss our views about controversial topics. This helped us all to understand each other on a more personal level, hearing all our opinions and beliefs, learning from each other and not feeling embarrassed to share too much. We eventually came up with our social action project; to make a winter bag to give to the vulnerable people in our area, in the hopes of making them smile over the cold winter months. Over the whole programme, we have been faced with challenges and obstacles but as a team, we have conquered them and grown as people.
Juggling volunteering with college work and other commitments has been difficult, but I feel that I have gained far more from this experience than I ever thought possible. Being thrown into such an extreme environment so far from my comfort zone has helped me gain the confidence I never even knew I had. Not only have I grown personally, but I feel I have made a group of friends for life, and I hope we all stay in touch after the programme is finished.
Following NCS, I hope to go on to achieve my V100 award and carry on some volunteering work, as I’ve found I really love helping people in the community; it’s such a rewarding feeling!
I’m hoping to get the grades I need to get into York University to study English Literature or History and I’m thrilled that my NCS experience will help make my UCAS personal statement stand out.
My ultimate goal in life is to write a fiction book and get it published, as I really enjoy reading and creative writing.
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