When I finished my first year at University I was faced with a difficult decision. I had studied for Medicine for a year and realised I didn’t love it, I didn’t thrive at it. Reflecting on the reasons for studying medicine I started to appreciate that many of them could be fulfilled elsewhere. I wanted to work with people and for people. Having studied and loved Politics at A-level I began to consider this as a university subject and future career. Politics like Medicine is all about understanding people so as to serve them better. I decided to pursue an internship that was centred around Politics in order to discover whether this is something I truly wanted to do.
Volunteering at CSM was great for introducing me to the ‘real’ world of Politics. ‘Real’ meaning not the highly ordered and strict system of government you study in class or the media portrayed sleaze, but the actual behind-the-scenes workings of the political world. Being based in Labour HQ is a great help in this discovery of real politics. Being in the Labour office is an opening you should seize and if I were to do the internship again the main thing I would change is to appreciate the opportunity this gives you. I would network hard and talk to the people in the office, finding out what they do and all the time trying to gain head knowledge of the industry.
Going to meetings with Andy, the director of CSM, was a chance to get this so called head knowledge. Portcullis House in Westminster is the ‘real’ political world and having the opportunity to meet both MPs and those who assist them allowed me to understand the workings of Parliament and how CSM operates. CSM is all about building links within Parliament, by understanding Westminter CSM can influence decisions and get their voice heard.
Daily work at CSM is varied, which kept me both interested and challenged. A lot of what I have been doing was centred on the Labour Party Conference, administrative duties but also helping co-ordinate events and advertise them as much as possible to the right people. What makes volunteering at CSM special is they want to help you; they concentrate the tasks they give you on developing your skills.
I feel after working at CSM I understand ‘real’ politics and what I hoped is true, it’s all about people. I’m about to go to study Politics in the classroom at University, but what I now know is important is the experiences you gain in a ‘real’ political environment. It is these opportunities that will give you a far deeper understanding than any book or lecture will.
Bring God's Kingdom Here
Rosie writes about what brought her to CSM and what she thinks we're doing now. (Author: Rosie Colthorpe)
Volunteering with the Christian Socialist Movement
Zoe writes about her experience at the Labour Party conference and why she decided to volunteer for the CSM. (Author: Zoe Hart)
A point of view: faith and politics
An article from Christina Grant, a recent volunteer, about what brought her to CSM. (Author: Christina Grant)
The Heartbeat Of A Movement
A summary of Sam's time spent interning with CSM. (Author: Sam Brown)
Three Weeks with CSM
Read Simon's experiences of volunteering with CSM up to and at Labour Party Conference 2010 (Author: Simon Watkinson)
Being Thrown in at the Deep End
Read about Esther's time at CSM (Author: Esther Barlow)
Read Tom's thoughts on volunteering with CSM (Author: Tom Warnett)
A Volunteer Blog
Read Grace's account of her time with CSM (Author: Grace Vanstone-Hallam)
Volunteering for CSM (Author: )