Last year, I graduated from the University of Portsmouth, where I studied a degree in Illustration. It was one of the biggest achievements in my life; I had now officially finished education; no more coursework, no more exams, and no more late nights in the library and art studios!
A couple of weeks later (after all the celebrations had come to an end), I woke up one morning and although I was so happy with the realisation that I don’t have any coursework to do, I began to wonder and question, “Well, what am I going to do now?” That thought soon swiftly made its way to the back of my mind, hiding away deep within my other thoughts. With a family wedding right around the corner (and by corner, I mean the turn of a calendar month page), I decided to enjoy this moment of freedom, and a holiday to Switzerland! Three weeks of wedding preparation, constant eating, sight seeing, museum visits, hiking and sports.
After I returned, I knew it was time I entered the working world (quite daunting right?). In this huge, yet also small world that we live in, I thought, where do I start? It was at this precise moment, where I went onto the V&A’s website and saw that they were recruiting for Front-of-House Volunteers. I am a big believer of fate and thought this is meant to be. Throughout my degree, I used to take two weeks away for research, and every time, I always ended up the V&A, so much that it became a second home for me. Something about this wonderful, majestic, Victorian treasure trove brought me immense amounts of inspiration. Whether it was walking through the dazzling jewellery galleries, with vibrant, delicate gemstones, releasing sharp blasts of shine and colour into my peripheral vision, getting close up to see the intricate works and illustrations of Beatrix Potter and Ernest Aris, or just trailing through the south-east Asia and Europe regions, absorbing the traditional culture and history, walking into each gallery felt like I had been teleported back in time. Every piece I encountered was like finding gold in a chest.
I have been volunteering at the V&A for nearly two months now, and if I had to describe my experience so far in one word, it would have to be; REWARDING! (Although one word just isn’t enough!). Initially, I felt so nervous, hoping that I don’t give the wrong information to a visitor, however being surrounded by a wonderful, friendly and enthusiastic team on Wednesday mornings gave me the confidence I needed to be able to go out there and really give the public that special V&A welcome and experience that I once received when I used to be a visitor (after getting my bag completely un-organised at security!). Each Wednesday that I volunteer is like a new journey, with years and years of knowledge just sitting at my fingertips, waiting to be taken in. The other aspect that makes this role so enjoyable are the interesting visitors I get to interact with; not only do I get to hear about their journeys and interests, but I have a chance to share my experiences with them also.
Volunteering at the V&A has been the best opportunity by far, and it has made me realise that I want to pursue a career in an Art museum/ gallery. I look forward to Wednesdays that one day just isn’t enough and I can definitely say that my time at the V&A so far has been fabulous, and I’m looking forward to all the amazing weeks that are to come.