Five Years On, Marie-Claire looks back at her time with Yipiyap

I worked at Yipiyap back in 2012 during my gap year. When Anne contacted me about the job, I thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to do something constructive, rewarding and challenging in my year off. I spent one day a week at Newall Green High School, working mostly on a one to one basis and one day a week at All Saints Primary School working with small groups. 

I started the job expecting my main goal to be academically supporting the pupils to help improve their grades. However, I soon realised that in addition to this I was able to give them something much more important. Being given the chance to work with the pupils one on one, meant I was able to build up really great relationships with them. This allowed me to gain their trust, and in doing so I was able to understand the difficulties they were facing both in school and outside of school. Being in this position allowed me to enhance their confidence and self-belief in their abilities, and I very quickly started to see their their academic performance improving as a result. I also saw the pupils began to enjoy what they were doing, and I found they even looked forward to coming to the session. Although the ultimate goal is to improve the pupil’s academic performance, I learnt that helping them emotionally was equally as important, and in some cases, a little bit of encouragement and reassurance was all this pupil’s needed to see their grades improve. I think that confidence and academic performance go hand in hand. Yipiyap offers the perfect platform to improve these two things simultaneously, and being a part of this process was really rewarding.

Following my gap year, I went on to study Natural Sciences at UCL. I think at university students feel a lot of pressure to apply to internships and grad schemes in the hope of securing a job upon finishing. What I had learnt at Yipiyap really helped me think about what I ultimately wanted to end up doing. I realised how much I enjoyed building relationships with people, in the hope that I could gain their trust and help them in some way. This realization combined with my love of science, led me to apply to study graduate medicine. As with any job, all of my interviewers were interested to see how I had spent my gap year. Being able to draw on my experiences at Yipiyap as examples of what I had learnt was really helpful. After graduating with a first class honors I was lucky enough to secure my place at medical school and I am now finishing my second year! I think a gap year is a great time to experience new things and challenge yourself, and Yipiyap was the perfect opportunity for me to do this.