Get Involved through Volunteering!


My name is Jaafar, I am 19 years old and I am currently in my 3rd year HASS student in the dual degree program Bachelor of Science/Education (Secondary).  

I began my volunteering experience at UQ in my 1st year, where I joined the UQ Education Society as Treasurer for 2020. It was honestly a huge head-first dive into volunteering. Shout out to Edward Jones, who was the President at the time, because he believed in me and gave me the confidence to do it! It didn’t take him long to convince me that I’m fit for the position, but I definitely had to think about it quite a bit. Although such an important role as a 1st/2nd year seemed daunting at first, I quickly became acquainted with the inner runnings of the society and felt more comfortable as time went on. It was during this time that I really became aware of the plethora of volunteering opportunities at UQ. By this time, I had already been drowning in assignments and exams for the semester, so naturally, I waited until semester 2 came around. In semester 2 last year, I really kicked it off. I started by creating my own UQ Union affiliated club with my best friend Joshua Badshah - the UQ Karaoke Club. It was one of the hardest things to do, especially given the fact that COVID was around! But regardless, we knew our peers were feeling like us - sick of staying indoors and just wanting to get out and have fun. We pulled together an executive management team and the ball started rolling and rolling. We continue to host events for our members and this year we have around 250 members! It’s honestly the best thing ever - we’ve come so far, we’ve all learnt together and strengthened our bonds. So, get out there, start a club and ‘volunteer’ your time with your best friend, you won’t regret it! 

That led me to realisation number two - volunteering is extremely fun and rewarding. For me, there was no stopping or slowing down:  it was much the opposite. I was addicted to volunteering. Late last year I took up a further FOUR volunteering roles that officially started this year. They are, hands down, the best things I’ve done. The first one is becoming President of the UQ Education Society, my greatest achievement and most wholesome moment so far. Secondly, I ran and got elected as a member of the UQ Union Clubs and Societies Committee. This has proved incredibly helpful as I lead the two aforementioned clubs and societies. The third one is a student representative position on the School of Education Teaching and Learning Committee, one of the most sought after positions due to its importance and potential for making change. The fourth and final extra-curricular volunteering position I took up this year was as a Science Leader in the UQ Science Leaders Academy. I have the tiniest bit of history with this one - I ran for it the year before and failed. If you ask me what changed, it was definitely the development of my communication, interpersonal and soft skills over the year, thanks to my position in the UQ Education Society. Each position, opportunity and activity leads into the next. The skills you build will shape your confidence and interactions with people everywhere and in every context and will help you build professionalism and grow your public brand. 

Now that I had those five positions moving into the new year, I was so happy but still, I had the constant thought that I needed more to do! I was hungry to make change and help more people. I looked into HASS opportunities and struck gold - I quickly and easily became a HASS Volunteer and I was privileged to be selected and given a mentor from the Education industry as part of the HASS Connect Mentoring Program. I became a UQ Life Virtual Village Volunteer, HASS Student Leader and a mentor in the Get Set Mentoring program. This may sound cliché, but it can’t be truer - each and every single one of these positions and roles have helped me develop countless interpersonal skills and the all-important skill of leadership. It isn’t even halfway through the year and I have learnt so much from my involvement. I can’t end it without mentioning one crucial thing, time management. It would be difficult to be a part of 10 extra-curricular positions and activities without effective time management.

So, here’s the takeaway message I give to you: quite literally, Get Involved at UQ!  Go to Google and search “Get Involved at UQ”. Volunteering is helping others, developing invaluable skills, improving your wellbeing and making new friends.

By Jaafar Jabur