By an Anonymous, QUB Nightline, Listening Volunteer
It’s that time of year again. Summer has startlingly flown by in a blur and here we all are:
September and back to university and generally, a hectic student life! We should hardly be surprised that it is upon us already, time always ticks down quicker than what feels fair. Its existence simply goes on, riding the same wavelengths of life itself, hup and down, hup and down. I would be quite content to bob along calmly but spontaneity is also, undeniably, a sure sign of student status!
Amidst all the buzz of freshers fair & new societies, don’t forget that we, student volunteers @QUB Nightline, are also reopening! (& soon to be recruiting!). Who are we? We are a student-run, active listening service and, in BIG news, are now open THREE nights a week! Wednesday 8pm-2am has been added to Tuesday & Friday evenings as we expand our service!
So, what is the life of a Nightline volunteer like, I hear you enthusiastically enquire? Honestly, it’s a normal life which is exactly what most of us, especially those who live with secrecy, crave above all else. Danny Hunter, in Spooks, when struggling to maintain his real-life identity & his fictional Legend identity, pines for it, stating “I just want a normal life”.
And for the most part, we mainly do! This article is being written from the insight of a volunteer currently on the committee for the first time after beginning my own NL journey at Queens, all of 21 months ago! Way back in Lockdown 2? 58? (Whichever it was in January 2020)! Being a part of committee is a step up, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t enjoyable.
The pillars: when taking a call, these are what we always refer back to maintain integrity, both for the caller’s & our volunteer’s sake
These are crucial. They are our core for how we handle calls & communicating with our callers. The pillars are our equivalent of Katniss Everdeen- essentially very important to our cause & what we are all about!
Calls are about absolutely anything. At times, difficult but mostly enlightening & fulfilling, like the warm relief experienced when your hand successfully switches the bathroom light on at 3am, in the pitch-dark landing. Others are more in the middle, just ringing for a chat or a good, old-fashioned vent after a bad day. The content of a call is entirely led by our caller, whatever they want to discuss, we’ll listen.
When taking a call, this can be the hardest pillar to abide by especially when the solution is, in your eyes anyway, crystal clear. However, as you grow in experience, so does your appreciation of the non-advisory pillar. If we just give our callers an answer, who’s to say it’ll work? Have they really decided on a certain choice themselves or have we majorly shoehorned them down a particular path, based on our own opinions? Of, I might add, a topic that isn’t any of our business and to which, we are uninformed on because we haven’t been there, born witness to events, been able to mindread our caller & anyone they mention in the call.
Also, we ourselves, despite being trained, are not professional counsellors. We volunteers are just students, probably going through some similar stress in our own lives but we’ll always lend an ear whilst not deciding what should always remain, your own personal decision.
As Josh Carter raps in, nostalgia alert here, CBBC’s 4 O’Clock Club, “But then on second thoughts, someone else’s decision, wrong or right, is never yours”. At the end of the day, as much we are invested in wanting the best for our callers, the choice should always remain entirely theirs.
Keep an eye on our social media pages (find us at @qubnightline), as here you will see when applications to be a listening volunteer open along with student prize draws & mental health tips! We recruit twice a year, once per term. If you would like to be involved, please go for it! We would love to see, meet, train & get to know you. Some of the best friends I have met at uni stem from Nightline- we have such a supportive setup & with covid restrictions gone, more of a social aspect lined up as well this year!
I am thrilled to announce that APPLICATIONS ARE NOW OPEN!! GO FOR IT! They are open until next Friday the 7th of October & can be found on our website (https://qub.nightline.ac.uk/) & on our social media pages!
Joining QUB Nightline has been eventful, exciting and one of the best decisions I have made during my time at Queens! I hope that after reading this, experiencing the Nightline environment, “inner sanctum”, for yourself & thoroughly enjoying uni life, that student volunteers ten years down the line are echoing similar sentiments.
I’ll leave you with this, possibly my favourite 4 O Clock’ Club rap line, “You know me, I can get by on my own… but I’m twice as strong with you, yeah”. What it speaks to is how comforting fellow friends & human company can be. Whether that’s as a listening volunteer or a tentative caller, I hope that you can use QUB Nightline to feel stronger & empower yourself. We’ll be here to listen, whatever you decide.
If you want to talk about anything at all, QUB Nightline is available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Fridays 8pm-2am, via IM, the link to which can be found at qub.nightline.ac.uk
* Apologies but our phone line service is temporarily unavailable- we are working to resolve this issue & hope to restore phone calls to our shifts as soon as possible! Please get in touch with our lovely volunteers through IMs if there is anything you want to chat about