My NCS Experience: Shiny
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NCS was an experience that I will never forget. I overcame my fears and stepped out of my comfort zone.
Before I started the programme, I had multiple emotions. I was nervous because it was my first time living away from home and was nervous about whether I would make new friends or not because I was shy at the time.
In the first week, we stayed at a campsite. This was the first time that I had been camping so I found it overwhelming at first. When we first got there, we spent some time in our tents so we kind of got used to them and then we did ice breaker activities to get to know our teammates. The activities that I took part in were Jacob’s Ladder, raft building, a 12-mile hike and the trapeze and giant swing. Jacob’s Ladder was a ladder with big gaps in it, so I had to use ropes to help me get up to the next rung. I found this activity challenging because I was afraid of heights (at the time), so I felt like I was going to fall even though I was harnessed! In the raft building activity, we had to work as a team to build a raft that would not fall apart when it was on the water. When we got on the water our raft stayed together so none of us fell in. We also had to complete different challenges on our raft such as collecting the most rubber ducks. On the third day we took part in a 12-mile hike around the acres of the campsite. We had to walk five miles to get to our destination and then seven miles back. I found this activity quite challenging but when I completed it, I felt a sense of accomplishment. I found the trapeze and giant swing activity really fun too. We also did things in the evening such as live music and a movie night.
In the second week, we stayed at a private boarding school where we had dorms. Having to share a room with people who I had never met allowed me to make new friends. Some of the activities that I took part in during the second week are a treasure hunt, hide and seek and we also had Barclays come in to talk to us about money management and what to do before, during and after an interview. What we did with Barclays was really useful because they are skills that I am able to use now and in the future.
In the third week, we started planning our social action project. My team decided to raise money for the Douglas Macmillan Hospice. We also thought about what fundraising activities we would like to do in order to raise money. The fundraising activities we chose were painting a wall, holding a cake sale, doing a sponsored walk and a spinathon at one of the local gyms.
Because of NCS, I am now more confident around people who I do not know and I am more persistent. This means I’ll be able to make new friends easily when I go to university and get a job. Money management is one of the skills that I gained too, which means if I choose to live in student accommodation at university, I will need to focus on spending money on what I need rather than what I want. I have already started to save money for necessary things that I will need in the future! I think teamwork and communication will also be really useful for working better in groups at uni and in any job.
When I finished NCS, I felt a real sense of achievement and accomplishment. Looking back, it was an amazing experience and I wish that I could do it again!