So this evening I had my first real shadow shift. I’ve actually been on call for the volunteering for months now, but I’ve never been called out, and today was the first time!
I volunteer as what is known as an Appropriate Adult for the charity Equal Lives. It basically means I am there with young or vulnerable individuals to ensure that their needs are being met whilst they are at the police station, I.e they’ve been read their rights, offered food, water and the chance to go to the toilet, that they understand what is happening to them, have been offered the chance to see a solicitor, and are not coerced during their interview.
After only one shift I already feel like it will be something I am going to enjoy. It’s incredibly interesting to see how the procedures you would never think of work, and you also get to see a completely different side of life, for people that have not had the same chances as you.
As I am considering both Clinical and Forensic Psychology it is incredibly useful in that sense. Forensic obviously for the role of criminality, but clinical in the sense that so many of these individuals struggle with mental health disorders, which are often the root cause of their criminal behaviour. I can see that this role will open my eyes to what my future professional career might involve, and also toughen me up for things I might see.
I think volunteering is an especially important thing for students to do. Not only does it have the option of providing all sorts of future career opportunities (for instance today I met two solicitors), but it gives you hands on, practical experience that is invaluable. It gives you a chance to experience the field you are interested in, before you are on your own. I also feel that it helps develop your independence and adult personality. An experience I would highly recommend!