How did volunteering turn out to be a life-changing experience for me?

Last year, after completing high school, I was waiting for my university acceptance when I saw Zubair’s post on LinkedIn looking for volunteers to work at ZNotes. I immediately filled out the application form and was called for an interview a few days later. As far as I remember, the interview went terribly, as I was really nervous. To my surprise, I was selected to work as a content writer. I was delighted that day but doubted that I might not be able to get the work done.

Induction and Early days

The induction process happened, and I started working with the team. I submitted my first task to Newsletter Editor and waited for feedback. The editor redid almost the whole thing and texted that she enjoyed reading the content that I wrote, but it wasn’t in the correct format. My confidence shattered, but those few kind words held me.

Eager to learn and grow, I went through most of the previous articles on the blog and tried to familiarize myself with the format as much as I could. I improved myself with time and got better at it, all thanks to the supportive Newsletter Editor.

Three months in, I finally have my university acceptance. Surprisingly, I got in everywhere I applied, but unfortunately, my peers struggled to score good acceptances. My elation and sense of accomplishment weren’t mutual. I felt like a terrible friend and wanted to do something about it.

Founding Kis Uni

At this point, I had already understood how an organisation like ZNotes operated and how could I start something similar. Inspired by ZNotes, I founded Kis Uni to make university education accessible for everyone in Pakistan. If I hadn’t worked at ZNotes, Kis Uni wouldn’t have been there.

With Kis Uni, my personal growth was exponential. I learned how to make a pitch deck, pitch to incubators, look out for partnership opportunities, lead a team, and much more.

Transition to Fundraising Officer

I still continued to work at ZNotes while building Kis Uni as I couldn’t leave where it all started for me. Five months into the content writer role, I expressed my interest to Zubair in working in Growth Team. Zubair suggested I work as a fundraising officer as the position will be helpful in building KU.

I got to work on the ZNotes’ competitions applications and saw the previous ones that had won awards. I learned as much as I could and applied that to KU applications. I saw our applications at KU improve tremendously.

Concluding thoughts

You might be wondering how I managed to work at ZNotes, build KU and manage the university altogether? All thanks to the wonderful ZN team, who are very understanding and fill in if you’re unavailable.

I would’ve never thought last year how this opportunity might be life-changing for me. I always knew I wanted to work on building meaningful products and give back to the community, but I never knew this would happen that early. I’m ever grateful to Zubair for taking a chance on me that day and being my mentor during this amazing journey.

To every student reading this, do volunteer for something. You never know how can that be life-changing, as was the case with me.

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Mahad is a freshman at NUST majoring in GeoInformatics Engineering. He cares about social empowerment and student well-being.

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Mahad Imran

Mahad Imran

Mahad is a freshman at NUST majoring in GeoInformatics Engineering. He cares about social empowerment and student well-being.

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