Little late, but it has taken me a while to get my thoughts straight.
A year and a bit ago, I volunteered to be a clyde-sider at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. It was a spur of the moment decision, one that I would not have taken if I had given myself time to talk myself out of it. Being as shy as I am, I do find it hard when faced with new people, so volunteering would be a challenge and a half.
Over the following year, I spent many a day travelling up to Glasgow and coming back down. I had the interview and then, upon receiving the startling news that I had been accepted, there were the training days. These were dotted out over a few months and given the cost of travelling, my student loan was gradually disappearing as a result (the only financial help that seemed to be offered were to local volunteers only, which I found a bit odd).
Finally, after persevering, the games arrived. Given the popularity of them, accommodation was booked up months and months in advance. I took advantage of CampingNinja and decided to spend my time in Glasgow camping. This proved to be a mistake.
The clyde-sider shifts were long, starting early and ending roughly 10 hours later with only a half-hour break in the middle. For the time I was there, I only ever got given work outside – on my feet in the sun and rain. The actual work was good, once I got into it I found the time passed really quickly, and I met some really nice people. I did ticketing and was on the mile, directing people to where they needed to be. I even got a megaphone at one point!
However, being around people for so long is exhausting. That, coupled with the work and the long shifts, made it a struggle by the end of the day. The camping only made it worse.
I have only been camping once before, for my DofE. But, it seemed easy enough. There were facilities and food at the campsite and I though everyone else would be in the same boat as me – volunteers. Unfortunately, the campsite was mixed with both volunteers and spectators (who liked to party into the night), there was only one cubical shower (the rest were communual) and breakfast began just as I had to leave for my shift. I struggled to get to sleep and after a few days, I was just about set to collapse.
Needless to say, I pulled out. At times I do wish I had stuck out until the end, but in hindsight, I am glad that I didn’t. Pulling out when I did allowed me to remember the good times that I did have, and the friendly people that I met. If I had continued, the negative would have just been overpowering. It was certainly an experience, and not one I will likely be repeating. I’m pleased I did it as I learnt a lot about myself and the kind of things involved with such an event. I just wish I had been able to enjoy it more.