A baby faced 18-year-old entering Goldsmiths, ready for the next three years to study BSc Psychology! I clearly remember being recommended Goldsmiths by my former tutor in College, who raved on that he was once a student there and that I would love it. I remember days sitting on the big field outside, finding a seat in the busy canteen and joining the swing class for one lesson in 1st year!
After graduating with a 2:1 in 2009, I ventured off into the big, adult world with the combination of knowing I enjoyed psychology but was stuck on what to do next. After backpacking around Asia on my own for six months between 2010 and 2011, I returned as focused as ever. I assessed what I loved and what I was good at; I wanted to help and support people, I was good at listening and I was intrigued by the psychology of how and why humans behave and think.
I went on to complete my graduate certificate in Counselling Psychology at another university and found myself back at Goldsmiths in 2014, starting a new chapter of my life doing a MA in Counselling. Seven years from that first day, I was back walking under the same Goldsmiths sign. I was part of the alumni community and I felt honoured. From a couple of the early lectures I was gripped by the course co-ordinator Paula Collens who was very enthusiastic about every topic she taught. The course took me on a journey that I never imagined it would – it was powerful, challenging and stretched both my personal and professional growth. The summer of 2015, I will never forget – the dissertation and clinical portfolio was due and I recall Sue’s email responses calming my anxiety! In February 2016, I graduated AGAIN from Goldsmiths with a pass with merit in MA Counselling. I was elated!
After my undergraduate degree, I founded What You Do Matters in 2012. It was inspired through fundraising for my trip to Ghana to volunteer at an orphanage in Teshie. I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of envisioning, organising and promoting the fundraiser and fell in love with the experience of investing my time and work into a charity. The event also taught me there are many people who wanted to invest their time and donations to good causes but didn’t know where or how. Three and a half years later and 13 different projects on, What You Do Matters is now What You Do Matters Limited, with a team of ten women who came together on a voluntary basis united in a cause to inspire positive changes in women.
What You Do Matters requires consistent hard work and my five years at Goldsmiths taught me success IS at the end of hard work and relentless drive. It has been challenging and I have made sacrifices – financially, physically and emotionally, as well as sacrificing a lot of my free time. I view it as a movement, constantly growing and progressing. I have spent nearly four years persistently seeking supporters, getting as many people involved and networking with other organisations.
What You Do Matters is fostered to a commitment to women and young girls promoting self-confidence, strong interpersonal skills and women empowerment, alongside encouraging involvement in community work. My vision for What You Do Matters is to run as an established charity in London, running summer workshops, mentoring programmes throughout the year and volunteering schemes in winter. Last year we launched our very first women’s workshop in Newham and this year we are currently working on launching our Personal Development Programme for young women in May.
What You Do Matters has led me to amazing opportunities such as being the keynote speaker at the Newham Challenge National Citizen Service Graduation 2013 and part of The Challenge’s Dragon’s Den experience in 2014. One of my proudest moments is being featured in the video for The 10th Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting 2013 as a ‘young empowering leader’.
The reason why I love volunteering and why I have loved every minute of What You Do Matters is because bringing people together is where I feel I excel the most. What You Do Matters has been incredibly rewarding.
Guest post by Jacqueline Fernandez MA MBACP (BSc Psychology, 2009 and MA Counselling, 2016). Jacqueline is a qualified counsellor and Founder and CEO of her own non-profit organisation, What You Do Matters (WYDM). Over the course of the nearly four years, this ever-growing organisation has hosted over 13 fundraisers for a range of causes.