As many of you are now finding out, the summer terms of year 11 are some of the most stressful times that you’ve experienced so far. However, by planning exciting things to do after your exams you can keep yourself motivated and begin to look forward to the time after your exams. One way to do this is through the NCS summer programme. I took part in NCS in summer 2016 and since day one of the programme, I have never looked back!

After signing up for the programme many months ahead of the exam season, the excitement began to build towards the summer and I was able to focus on things other than exams and the endless revision that came with it.

On the other hand, I began to feel nervous… very nervous. Upon signing up for the programme, I knew that one of the biggest challenges that I would have to face was that I wasn’t a very confident person; I was scared to talk to new people, worried about going away from home and even stressed the little things like what size bag to use.

By the end of week 1, all of my worries had been diminished as I had made a bunch of new friends, tried out so many activities that were previously out of my comfort zone and found new ways to increase my confidence levels. As the programme continued into the remaining 3 weeks, I found that I became increasingly more involved in activities to the point that when it came to leaving Nottingham University after week 2 of the programme, I found it hard to say goodbye to the cohort members who were not in my social action group. For me, the NCS summer programme helped me from strength to strength by continuously pushing me out of comfort zone and giving me the courage to do things that I previously wouldn’t have been confident enough to do.

However, I think that one of the greatest things that NCS offered me was the chance to use NCS as a platform to greater opportunities. One example of this is that after taking part in the summer programme I was able to use my new found skills to pluck up the courage to apply to become one of 100 NCS Leaders in the country; a role that I was later offered. From this, I was offered a number of other exclusive opportunities such as the chance to become an NCS/BBC R1 Partnership Ambassador in which I helped to shape a number of national projects with BBC Radio 1. As well as taking part in national projects and events, I was also offered a place on the NCS regional youth board for EM1 which means that I have the opportunity to work with the local NCS providers to make the programme the best it can possibly be.

So, if like me have already signed up or are thinking of signing up for an NCS programme and are shy or nervous about your NCS journey, my advice would be to ignore your worries and GO FOR IT. NCS is a once in a lifetime opportunity which can equip you with life skills that you can transfer into everything you do in the future. It also gives you the power to access opportunities that you would never otherwise be offered meaning that you will be able to begin to build up your CV with invaluable experience as well as having fun.

Your NCS journey doesn’t have to stop at the end of the summer.