First of all; what on Earth is the York Award?
The York Award is an award from the University, open to any student, that recognises people who have got really involved in university life. People that have developed personally and professionally in ways that go beyond their course. This might sound like an intimidating statement; but even I was surprised. I certainly didn’t think I qualified when I first looked into it.
Without really realising it, I was involved in university life and community life in York. I had done an LFA (Languages for All) course in French, volunteered at my local church and I had stood (unsuccessfully) to be a course rep. I was inclined at the start of the process to believe that because I wasn’t involved in a society, I wasn’t really developing myself personally. However, just the process of applying for the award forced me to think about those things I had done out of sheer enjoyment, and what they had taught me.
One of the best things about the application process was the York Strengths programme. The process described nine different strengths that a person can have. It was really fun going through them and suddenly recognising myself in the descriptions! This showed me how I ‘tick’, and what I could be doing that would both stretch me and play to those strengths. Doing the programme helped me think about what career path I wanted to take, and what I could be doing now in order to strengthen my CV for that kind of work.
The application process
The application process itself was very simple – just a series of questions to fill out online. The first were about what strengths you had, and specific examples of things you had done to use that strength in your time at University so far. The second set of questions were about how you believed you had developed over your time at university. Finally, there were questions about what you planned to do over your final years at university to further develop your strengths. This was really useful as it actually forced me to think about my future (something I had been avoiding).
The sweet smell of success!
I was so happy when I found out that I had been successful in my application. I was given great feedback that helped me when approaching other applications, including for paid work. The certificate looks great on my CV, and shows employers that I have used my time at university really well.
So – why go for the York Award?
As I wrote at the beginning, the award is open to all students at the time of writing. I highly recommend applying. The process itself is so valuable, and you might even get the award!
Take a look at this other blog on what it’s like the be a York Award leader.